Jamestown Discoveries

This semester, we had the privilege of studying the colonial period of the United States. There were wonderful examples of bravery and sacrifice. Many of these people had high ideals and admirable morals. Not all colonists were to be admired. While most of the settlers desired peace with their native neighbors and desired a good working economy with them, there were those who let suspicion and pride rule their minds.

And yet, there are dark spots on the delightful history of our country. Not just the immoral actions of power hungry men, but there were journal reports of survival cannibalism during the ‘Starving Time’ of 1609-10. Until recently, all they have had to attest to this dark time of American history were the journal entries.

The discovery of a young girl’s remains have now offered proof that our fore bearers entered such a dark period during a Powhatan siege that the settlers immorally stooped to survival cannibalism in order to survive that winter.

Survival cannibalism is not killing a person in order to survive.  It is the practice of the living to consume the bodies of those who succumb to death by disease or starvation.

But the consumption of human flesh at Jamestown was neither a ritual nor medicinal. It was for survival. For centuries, the written accounts were the only proof of cannibalism at James Fort. Nineteen years of modern excavations within the fort walls had not provided any irrefutable evidence necessary to prove that colonist’s accounts of cannibalism were fact. Until now.

Jane Banner

You can read about Jane at the Jamestown Historical website to learn about this woman who lived on our shores for only a year. She didn’t survive the starving winter, and her bodily remains are the first tangible evidence of the gruesome survival tactics of the settlers of Jamestown Fort.

We visited Jamestown on a History Hunting trip to the Williamsburg area. It is a well preserved site and worth the drive to see it.

3 thoughts on “Jamestown Discoveries

    1. I enjoyed that historic site quite a bit as well! My favorite coffee mug is from there. I found the archeology so fascinating! Our HS study talked about how horrible that Starving Winter was, but I hadn’t heard of this aspect.

  1. I’ve been to Williamsburg VA, but not Jamestown. I’d love to take a trip there because hubby and I LOVE American history!

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