Cannibalism confirmed at Jamestown

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tags: Washington Post, Virginia, cannibalism, Jamestown, 1607

The first chops, to the forehead, did not go through the bone and are perhaps evidence of hesitancy about the task. The next set, after the body was rolled over, were more effective. One cut split the skull all the way to the base.

“The person is truly figuring it out as they go,” said Douglas Owsley, a physical anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution.

In the meantime, someone — perhaps with more experience — was working on a leg. The tibia bone is broken with a single blow, as one might do in butchering a cow.

That’s one possible version of an event that took place sometime during the winter of 1609-1610 in Jamestown. What’s not in doubt is that some members of that desperate colony resorted to cannibalism in order to survive....

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