|Reconstructed face of unidentified girl from Jamestown settlement.|
The scientists from the Smithsonian Institute uncovered gruesome clues that the 14-year-old girl had been hacked at in much the same way a butcher would hack at the remains of a cow or pig. Many of the bones on her body had the unmistakable markings of being cut upon by a knife or axe.
Anthropologists and historians believe that the girl could have died during the famine of the winter of 1609 known as "The Starving Time" , an infamously harsh winter season that left only 60 of the 500 original colonists alive. Rumors of cannibalism during the Starving Time have existed over the centuries, but now the forensic scientists have offered conclusive proof that the colonists probably turned to eating human flesh in order to survive out of desperation.
The scientists believe that the girl died of natural causes, perhaps of starvation and/or disease, and that the cut marks upon her body were rendered postmortem. The bones, the reconstruction of her head and the story were presented Wednesday at an event at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. The remains will now be displayed at the Archaearium, the museum at the Jamestown fort archaeological site in Virginia, starting this weekend. A sign at the room’s entrance warns tourists that human remains will be on view. There will be no depictions of bodies being butchered, cooked or consumed.