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Scarlet Ibis
05-02-2013, 01:46 AM
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-22362831

http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/67359000/jpg/_67359957_jamestown_reconstructed_face.jpg



Newly discovered human bones prove the first permanent English settlers in North America turned to cannibalism over the cruel winter of 1609-10, US researchers have said.

Scientists found unusual cuts consistent with butchering for meat on human bones dumped in a rubbish pit.

The four-century-old skull and tibia of a teenage girl in James Fort, Virginia, were excavated from the dump last year.

James Fort, founded in 1607, was the earliest part of the Jamestown colony.

'Starving Time'

Researchers fashioned a three-dimension replica of the girl's face
"The evidence is absolutely consistent with dismemberment and de-fleshing of this body," said Doug Owsley, a forensic anthropologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

Written documents had previously suggested the desperate colonists resorted to cannibalism - but the discovery of the 14-year-old girl's bones offers the first scientific proof.

Smithsonian researchers believe the dead child became food for a community struggling to survive the harsh winter of 1609-10, known to historians as the Starving Time.

"There were numerous chops and cuts - chops to the forehead, chops to the back of the skull and also a puncture to the left side of the head that was used to essentially pry off that side," Dr Owsley said. "The purpose was to extract the brain."

The marks also indicate that the tongue and facial tissue were removed.

"The clear intent was to remove the facial tissue and the brain for consumption," he said. "These people were in dire circumstances. So any flesh that was available would have been used."