American cannibals

Skull fragment suggests starving colonists may have eaten one of their own

By Stephen Ornes, 12:47 PM May 8, 2013


Artists and scientists worked together to create this sculpture that shows what Jane, a colonial American, might have looked like. A study of the teen’s remains indicates she was cannibalized after she died. Credit: StudioEIS, Don Hurlbert/Smithsonian



Skeletal remains of a Jamestown teen show signs of cannibalism in colonial America, new data show. The girl’s skull provides the first concrete support for historical accounts that some starving colonists had resorted to eating the flesh of others.


Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. It sat on the James River, in what is now Virginia. The winter of 1609 to 1610 was hard on people living there. Some became gravely sick. Others starved. Only 60 of the 300 re...

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