Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Starving Settlers in Jamestown Colony Resorted to Cannibalism

“The chops to the forehead are very tentative, very incomplete,” says Douglas Owsley, the Smithsonian forensic anthropologist who analyzed the bones after they were found by archaeologists from Preservation Virginia. “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. A penetrating wound 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.” 

This Smithsonian article on recent discoveries at the site of an excavation at Jamestown, Virginia, will be startling for some people, but I wrote about it nine years ago in a fictionalized account published as, "The Starving," a Kindle eBook. My story was based on early evidence published in a National Geographic interactive essay. Although I made up the victim in my story, the circumstances are frighteningly similar.
Was I haunted by this young woman, cannibalized by her starving colonial companions? Was her ghost responsible for my 'imagining' the story? I suppose it's food for thought.

1 comment:

  1. “And now famin beginneinge to Looke gastely and pale in every face, thatt notheinge was Spared to mainteyne Lyfe and to doe those things which seame incredible, as to digge upp deade corpes outt of graves and to eate them,” Percy wrote. “And some have Licked upp the Bloode which hathe fallen from their weake fellowes.” Another testimony describes a man who killed, salted, and ate his wife, and later was executed for the crime. It was this act, that I read about in researching the original Jamestown journals, that inspired my story.


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