Thursday, May 2, 2013
Skeleton of teenage girl confirms cannibalism at Jamestown colony
“The person is truly figuring it out as they go,” said Douglas Owsley, a physical anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution.
In the meantime, someone — perhaps with more experience — was working on a leg. The tibia bone is broken with a single blow, as one might do in butchering a cow.
That’s one possible version of an event that took place sometime during the winter of 1609-1610 in Jamestown. What’s certain is that some members of that desperate colony resorted to cannibalism to survive.
That cannibalism occurred during the colony’s “starving time” was never in much doubt. At least a half-dozen accounts, by people who lived through the period or spoke to colonists who did, describe occasional acts of cannibalism that winter. They include reports of corpses being exhumed and eaten, a husband killing his wife and salting her flesh (for which he was executed), and the mysterious disappearance of foraging colonists. Read more >>