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Scientists Find Cannibalism at American Settlement

By: AP
By: AP

Scientists say they have found evidence that some of the early colonists survived harsh conditions by resorting to cannibalism.

MPI / Hurton Archive / Getty Images

May 1, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) - Scientists say they have found the first solid archaeological evidence that some of the earliest American colonists survived harsh conditions by resorting to cannibalism.

On Wednesday, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and archaeologists from Jamestown announced the discovery of the bones of a 14-year-old girl with clear signs that she was cannibalized.

The human remains date back to the deadly winter of 1609-1610, known as the "starving time" in Jamestown, when hundreds of colonists died. Scientists have said the settlers arrived from England during the worst drought in 800 years.

For years, there had been unconfirmed tales of starving early colonists resorting to eating dogs, mice, snakes, shoe leather and even their own dead.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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