Early British settlers in America resorted to cannibalism, study finds

Posted: May 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

Metro

The first Britons to settle in North America resorted to cannibalism to survive the deadly winter of 1609-10, scientists say.

The butchered remains of a 14-year-old girl, excavated from an old rubbish pit in Jamestown, Virginia, show unusually patterned cuts and chops.

‘The clear intent was to dismember the body, removing the brain and flesh from the face for consumption,’ said Douglas Owsley, of the Smithsonian National Museum.

Hundreds died during the winter months in 1609-10 known as ‘starving time’ by the people of Jamestown.

There were written accounts of settlers eating their own dead, but archaeologists had been sceptical of those stories.

Other accounts included people eating dogs, cats, rats, mice, snakes and shoe leather to stave off starvation.

Early Jamestown colony leader George Percy wrote of a ‘world of miseries,’ that included digging up corpses from their graves to eat when there was nothing else.

‘Historians have questioned…

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