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Evidence of cannibalism found in Jamestown

Archaeologists have found evidence of cannibalism in Jamestown, Virginia hundreds of years ago. Experts say colonists were doing everything they could to survive.
Jamestown, VA (CNN/WSYR-TV) -- Archaeologists have found evidence of cannibalism in Jamestown, Virginia hundreds of years ago. Experts say colonists were doing everything they could to survive.

A 14-year-old girl, nicknamed Jane, was eaten by her fellow colonists at Jamestown.

"We wanted to somehow give her a personification because she represents for us this terrible time during Jamestown's history called the Starving Time," explained Senior Archaeological Curator Bly Straube.

That was the winter of 1609 when 300 trapped colonists under siege by native Americans, ran out of food and resorted to eating anything to survive, including apparently, each other.

"We've read about it in the history books, it's been noted in diaries from the period, but there's been absolutely no evidence," Straube continued.

That is until today, with forensic evidence showing that Jane was eaten by her fellow colonists.

"There are markings on Jane's skull and on her leg we found her leg as well that indicate cannibalism," Straube explained.

While Jane’s the first confirmed case of cannibalism archaeologists at Jamestown think others likely met the same fate in death.

"We believe that she had died of starvation or disease because the records actually tell us that they were eating the dead some they had even buried and dug up again to consume," further explained Straube.

Cannibalism was likely the last resort after the long winter of starvation.

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