The Burgess Shale

An impressive collection

Between 1909 and 1925 (two years before he died) Walcott returned to the Burgess Shale every summer. Here, often accompanied by his wife and children, he quarried giant rock slabs from the quarry site and moved them down the steep slopes to the field camp below where he would unearth their fossil treasures. In total, Walcott shipped 65,000 specimens on 30,000 rock slabs to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. His finds generated interest around the world at a time when tourism to the Canadian Rockies, thanks to the railway, was increasing.

A detailed account of Walcott’s work can be found in Discoveies

Walcott shipped thousands of rock slabs containing fossils, similar to this slab on display in the Yoho Visitor Centre, to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
Walcott shipped thousands of rock slabs containing fossils, similar to this slab on display in the Yoho Visitor Centre, to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
PHOTO: © OMAR MCDADI, PARKS CANADA