Jamestown settlers turned to cannibalism to survive, bones show

05/2/2013 | SmithsonianMag.com · New Scientist

The scarred skull of a 14-year-old girl reveals that English settlers in Jamestown, Va., may have engaged in cannibalism to survive. A brutal winter in 1609 brought a food shortage, killing off 80% of the population. Marks on the girl's skull and tibia are the first evidence that settlers turned to eating each other to survive. "Historians have gone back and forth on whether this sort of thing really happened there. Given these bones in a trash pit, all cut and chopped up, it's clear that this body was dismembered for consumption," said Douglas Owsley, a forensic anthropologist with the Smithsonian Institution, who studied the bones.

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SmithsonianMag.com · New Scientist

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