Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/2/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Remains of dismembered 14-year-old girl found in Jamestown colony site

Stories of early American settlers are usually fraught with hardship, starvation and illness. Newcomers from Europe fond themselves tossed to an unforgiving and untended land, and men, women and children were forced to do anything in order to survive. Researchers now say that the settlers of 1609's Jamestown Colony in Virginia resorted to the unthinkable - perhaps killing and devouring a 14-year-old girl to stay alive.

Four shallow chop marks on the top of the girl's skull, evidence of cannibalism during the 'starving time' over the winter of 1609-1610.

Four shallow chop marks on the top of the girl's skull, evidence of cannibalism during the "starving time" over the winter of 1609-1610.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/2/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Cannibalism, Jamestown, settlers, forensic evidence


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The skeletal evidence found at the site tells a most terrible tale. "The chops to the forehead are very tentative, very incomplete," Douglas Owsley, a Smithsonian forensic anthropologist says.

Owsley, from his analysis says there is clear evidence of force upon the girl's remains. "Then, the body was turned over, and there were four strikes to the back of the head, one of which was the strongest and split the skull in half." Owsley notes that "penetrating wounds was then made to the left temple, probably by a single-sided knife, which was used to pry open the head and remove the brain."
 
Excavations at the site uncovered the carcasses of dogs, cats and horses consumed during the season commonly called the "Starving Time." The remains of the 14-year-old English girl, dubbed by researchers as "Jane," pose many uncomfortable questions.


It's not yet known if "Jane" was murdered or died of natural causes, whether multiple people participated in the butchering or it was a solo act.

Owsley reiterated at a press conference that the discovery provides the first direct evidence of cannibalism at Jamestown, the oldest permanent English colony in the Americas. "Historians have gone back and forth on whether this sort of thing really happened there," Owsley says. "Given these bones in a trash pit, all cut and chopped up, it's clear that this body was dismembered for consumption."

Founded in 1607 by 104 settlers aboard three ships, the Susan Constant, Discovery and Godspeed, only 38 survived the first nine months of life in Jamestown. Many died of starvation and disease, and there are theories that the local drinking water had been contaminated by arsenic and human feces.

Settlers arrived during one of one of the worst regional droughts in centuries. Many settlers were unaccustomed to hard agricultural labor, and the survivors remained dependent on supplies brought by subsequent missions, as well as trade with Native Americans.

Extreme drought, hostile relations with members of the local Powhatan Confederacy and the fact that a supply ship was lost at sea put the colonists in the winter of 1609 in a truly desperate position.

Sixteen years later, in 1625, George Percy, who had been president of Jamestown during the Starving Time, wrote a letter describing the colonists' diet during that terrible winter, including a passage which read  settlers were led "to doe those things which seame incredible, as to digge upp deade corpes outt of graves and to eate them. And some have Licked upp the Bloode which hathe fallen from their weake fellowes."

Owsley speculates that this particular Jamestown body belonged to a child who likely arrived in the colony during 1609 on one of the resupply ships. She was either a maidservant or the child of a gentleman, and due to the high-protein diet indicated by his team's isotope analysis of her bones, he suspects the latter.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More U.S.

'We're going to get through this together': WDBJ stands together the day after the tragic live-shooting of reporter and cameraman Watch

Image of Colleagues hug during the moment of silence for their fallen team members.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

WDBJ-TV station grieves the loss of Alison Parker and Adam Ward the morning after their on-air murders.  Los Angeles, California (Catholic Online) - Thursday morning was emotional, as WDBJ-TV anchor Kim McBroom joined hands with anchor Steve Grand, who came in ... continue reading


Colorado movie theater assassin James Holmes will never step outside of a prison - ever Watch

Image of Obsessed with killing people since he was a teenager, James Holmes said he studied neuroscience in part to fix his own

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On July 20, 2012, James Eagan Holmes, now 27, walked into an Aurora, Colorado movie theater during a late-night showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." He opened fire, killing 12 people and wounded 70. Holmes will never step outside a prison ever again - he was sentenced ... continue reading


Bizarre, twisted story trails behind Virginia TV reporter killer Vester Flanagan Watch

Image of Failed TV news anchor Vester Flanagan was notorious for his

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Stories have come forward regarding 41-year-old former TV news reporter Vester Flanagan, accused in the on-air shooting deaths of 24-year-old WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and 27-year-old camera operator Adam Ward. Flanagan, who committed suicide after the ... continue reading


Vatican did not consent to sponsor Palestinian flag initiative at United Nations Watch

Image of Only member states' flags are currently eligible to fly at U.N. headquarters.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It seems that certain parties leapt to conclusions too readily... The Vatican has requested that the Palestinian U.N. mission to remove all references to the Holy See from a draft resolution. The Palestinians have put forth a formal request to the U.N. General Assembly ... continue reading


Now legal for police to fly drones armed with weapons in North Dakota Watch

Image of Police drone illustrating abilities to release tear gas from above.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With the last-minute push of pro-police lobbyists, it is now legal for the North Dakora law enforcers to fly drones equipped with "less than lethal" weapons such as tasers, pepper spray and tear gas. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - During a hearing in ... continue reading


Catholic hospital forced to bow down before ALCU, will perform sterilization - religious freedom dying in the name of convenience Watch

Image of A Catholic hospital in Redding, CA has been forced to agree to perform a sterilization procedure.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The ALCU has succeeded in forcing a Catholic hospital to perform a sterilization procedure in what is certainly a direct affront to religious freedom. More importantly, the case could be a predictor of how the larger issue of religious freedom will play out across the ... continue reading


Pastor talks down would-be shooter with 28 hostages at West Virginia high school Watch

Image of

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A 14-year-old victim of bullying held 27 students and a teacher at gunpoint. The boy's pastor, Howard Swick, successfully talked the boy down and not a single shot was fired. Los Angeles (Catholic Online) -  An unnamed student at Philip Barbour County High School ... continue reading


Sheriff fights back at atheist's demand to remove 'In God We Trust' from patrol cars Watch

Image of 'In God We Trust' bumper sticker on a patrol car.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson responds to atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation's (FFRF) who demands the sheriff remove "In God We Trust" bumper stickers from all official police patrol cars. Los Angeles, California (Catholic Online) -  FFRF ... continue reading


News station shooter posts 'KILLER'S POINT OF VIEW' video before shooting himself when confronted by police (WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO) Watch

Image of Killer, Vester L. Flanagan, posted the 'killer's view' video to his Twitter account.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

News reporter Allison Parker and photographer Adam Ward were killed on live television Wednesday morning in Bridgewater Plaza outside Moneta, Virigina. The woman being interviewed, Vicki Gardner was also shot and is in an unknown condition. The suspected shooter shot ... continue reading


WARNING GRAPHIC FULL VIDEO - Virginia news crew murdered on live television Watch

Image of Alison Parker, 24, was killed this morning as news cameras rolled.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

BREAKING Two journalists have been shot dead on live TV during a news broadcast in Moneta, Virginia early this morning. The shooter escaped and police have not announced any suspects. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Two journalists were shot dead on live TV this ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Thessalonians 3:7-13
7 And so, brothers, your faith has been a great ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 90:3-4, 12-13, 14, 17
3 You bring human beings to the dust, by saying, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 24:42-51
42 'So stay awake, because you do not know the day ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 27th, 2015 Image

St. Monica
August 27: St. Monica was married by arrangement to a pagan official in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter