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Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Cannibalism In Jamestown Confirmed.
A forensic facial reconstruction of the 14-year-old victim
of cannibalism at Jamestown during the winter of 1609.
The announcement was made by a team of researchers from the Smithsonian
Museum of Natural History, Historic Jamestowne, and the Colonial Williamsburg
Foundation at a press conference May 1 in Washington,
There are five historical accounts written by or about Jamestown
colonists that reference cannibalism, but this is the first time it’s been
proven, said William Kelso, director of archeology at Historic
“This is a very rare find,” said James Horn, vice president of research
for the Colonial Williamsburg
Foundation. “It is the only artifactual
evidence of cannibalism by Europeans at any European colony—Spanish, French,
English, or Dutch—throughout the colonial period from about 1500 to
Portions of the butchered skull and shinbone of a 14-year-old girl from
England, dubbed “Jane” by researchers, were unearthed by Jamestown
archaeologists last year. They found the remains about 2.5 feet (0.8 meters)
down in a 17th century trash deposit in the cellar of a building built in 1608
inside the James Fort site.
Kelso said he hadn't believed previous historical accounts regarding
cannibalism. He thought they were politically motivated, intended to discredit
the Virginia Company—the stockholders who provisioned and financed the
"Now, I know the accounts are true," he said.
Since the excavation of James Fort began in 1994, the discovery is second
only to the discovery of the fort, he added.