Alberta’s Cornerstone

Archaeological Adventures in Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park

By (author): Shari Peyerl
ISBN 9781772033915
Softcover | Publication Date: May 3, 2022
Book Dimensions: 8.5 in. x 9 in.
288 Pages

About the Book

The fascinating exploration of a vanished settlement in Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, told within the framework of an archaeologist’s memoir.

While excavating Alberta’s most important historic sandstone quarry, archaeologist and oral historian Shari Peyerl uncovers fascinating clues about the province’s past. From metal fragments and dusty artifacts, she pieces together a story about a settlement situated in today’s picturesque Glenbow Provincial Park. Chronicling the development of ranching, village life, industry, and the Canadian Pacific Railway, Alberta’s Cornerstone is an engaging and authoritative history that reads like an archaeological detective story.

As Peyerl dispels archaeological myths, explains scientific techniques, and shares the excitement of unearthing lost histories, she introduces readers to a colourful array of characters who once lived at Glenbow, including a local embezzler, Alberta’s first graduate nurse, a Canadian soccer champion, an acclaimed mathematician, and a member of an international spy agency. Written for the general public, the detective-like attention to detail of this carefully annotated book will also appeal to historical scholars. Beautifully illustrated with modern colour photographs and many historic photographs (including fifteen previously unpublished), Alberta’s Cornerstone brings the ghosts of Glenbow to life.


About the Author(s)

Shari Peyerl is an archaeologist, archivist, oral historian, and writer, who holds BSc and MA degrees in archaeology from the University of Calgary. She has volunteered at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park since 2009 and enjoys giving tours and presentations about its history and archaeology. She created The People of Glenbow Family Photo Album, on display in the park Interpretive Centre. Peyerl loves using clues from written and oral history, archaeology and genealogy to reveal how ordinary people contributed to history.


“Shari Peyerl gives us a rare glimpse into the archaeological history of the tiny village of Glenbow, where a once thriving sandstone quarry put its mark on Alberta’s architecture and its residents left an enduring mark on Alberta’s history. Their stories are revealed to us through lavish illustrations combined with years of meticulous research."
—D. Larraine Andrews, author of Ranching under the Arch: Stories from the Southern Alberta Rangelands
“The long-gone quarry village of Glenbow, Alberta, is teased back to life in this great book. The arts of archeology and historical research are also lifted into view so readers can know not only what the author has discovered but how she did so. Her passion for the local and the lost is deeply exciting.”
—Fred Stenson, award-winning author of Who by Fire and Glenbow Provincial Park: Grass, Hills, and History
“Alberta owes Shari Peyerl thanks for writing this book. She brings real enthusiasm and professionalism to the site’s story. Shari doesn’t pull any punches in her discussion of the disjointed archaeological permitting system in Alberta, or the real probability that the site—which provided the stone for most of the province's first buildings—will be flooded. Alberta’s Cornerstone will be valued by all those who care about Alberta’s heritage.”
—Professor Frits Pannekoek, PhD, AOE, former director of the Province of Alberta’s Historic Sites Service