Some Of The First Americans Were Cannibals

British settlers in Jamestown resorted to cannibalism

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A facial reconstruction of “Jane of Jamestown” sits alongside the recovered skull Photo: AP



Today it was announced that anthropologists had found proof that at least some of the first English settlers in America had turned to cannibalism to survive what became known as “the starving time” at the Jamestown settlement.  To support these claims various human remains from the settlement were displayed with evidence that various meat cutting tools were used to dismember the bodies.  Of note was one 14 year old girl whose skull had multiple indentations that were made by someone chopping at her head.  The anthropologists theorized that she was probably a maid servant or daughter that died of natural causes but was then fed on during a time of intense starvation.  They even displayed a 3 dimensional model of the young girl’s face which makes for interesting viewing when you think that other human beings ate her.

According to the original article the settlement’s leader Captain John Smith gave a written account of another colonist who was tried, convicted, and executed for murdering his pregnant wife for food.  Captain Smith had this to say about the matter.

“One amongst the rest did kill his wife, powdered her, and had eaten part of her before it was known, for which he was executed, as he well deserved.

“Now whether she was better roasted, boiled or carbonado’d (barbecued), I know not, but of such a dish as powdered wife I never heard of.”

The period known as “the starving time” was extremely brutal on the colonists reducing the population from several hundred before the winter to about 60 survivors that spring.


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