Here’s a couple of pictures I took back in May of the ongoing excavation of James Fort/Jamestown. This is the cellar where archaeologists made the gruesome discovery of the body of an approximately 14-year-old female whose remains had clear indicators of butchery.
Named “Jane” by the researchers who examined her, she is the only known victim of survival cannibalism at the settlement, though texts from the time suggest other individuals suffered the same fate during the period known as the Starving Time. Jane’s cause of death is unknown, and it is not certain whether her death was directly related to survival cannibalism or if she died of other causes before her remains were eaten (though the latter is more likely).
Jane’s skull (as well as several other bones that show obvious cut marks) are currently on display at The Nathalie P. and Alan M. Voorhees Archaearium. Pictures are not allowed within this museum, but more images (and discussion) of her remains can be found here and the press release about the discovery and analysis can be found here.
May 13, 1607: Colonists Arrive in Virginia to Found Jamestown
On this day in 1607, around 100 English colonists arrived at the James River in Virginia to found Jamestown. The settlers of the new colony were immediately besieged by attacks from Algonquian natives, rampant disease, and internal political strife. In their first winter, more than half of the colonists perished from famine and illness.
Archaeologists rebuild 1608 church where Pocahontas was married
About five years after the footprint of the first Jamestown colony church was discovered, archaeologists and other specialists are busy partially reconstructing the structure. Believed to be the place where Pocahontas married the English tobacco planter John Rolfe, archaeologists hope that the reconstruction will provide the public with a real life, physical replica of the building that made history more than 400 years ago near the banks of the James River in southern Virginia. The church was built by the colonists in 1608 initially as a wood structure, then replaced by a brick structure later.
As stated by Jamestown Rediscovery Project Senior Staff Archaeologist David Givens in the project Dig Updates blog, “our intention here is not to recreate the entire church but give some notion of the space, so that when people are standing inside the church they can understand what the walls would have looked like and the fabric of the building.” Read more.
“…driven through insufferable hunger to eat those things which nature most abhorred, the flesh and excrements of man as well of our own nation as of an Indian, digged by some out of his grave after he had laid buried there days and wholly devoured him; others, envying the better state of body of any whom hunger has not yet so much wasted as their own, lay wait and threatened to kill and eat them; one among them slew his wife as she slept in his bosom, cut her in pieces, salted her and fed upon her till he had clean devoured all parts saving her head.”
Jamestown in the winter of 1609-1610, according to a 1619 document that recounted the settlements’ early years. Even if the story sounds worse than it actually was to make it a more interesting telling, there is no ignoring the fact that in the fall there were 214 settlers. In the spring, there were 60. It was called “the Starving Time” for a reason.
We finished off Debi’s cute ear project today with a tragus piercing featuring a 3mm brilliant cut prong set emerald cz from Anatometal! She’s also wearing an Anatometal gem cluster in her conch, and jade cabs from Neometal in her three flat piercings. Thanks again Debi! (at Almighty Studios)