A Last Supper Indeed: Throwing a Donner Party at Jamestown, or, Who Would Jesus Eat? 1

Scholars Find Cannibalism at Jamestown Settlement, from ABC News.


The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and archaeologists from Jamestown are announcing the discovery of the bones of a 14-year-old girl that show clear signs that she was cannibalized. Evidence indicates clumsy chops to the body and head, and it appears the girl was already dead at the time.

This tracks with written reports of Jamestown cannibalism that say the population was reduced to eating people when a historic drought decimated the food supply. The teenager’s skeletal remains are the first physical corroboration of those accounts.

Early Jamestown colony leader George Percy wrote of a “world of miseries,” that included digging up corpses from their graves to eat when there was nothing else. “Nothing was spared to maintain life,” he wrote.

In one case, a man killed, “salted,” and began eating his pregnant wife. Both Percy and Capt. John Smith, the colony’s most famous leader, documented the account in their writings. The man was later executed.

“One amongst the rest did kill his wife, powdered her, and had eaten part of her before it was known, for which he was executed, as he well deserved,” Smith wrote. “Now whether she was better roasted, boiled or carbonado’d (barbecued), I know not, but of such a dish as powdered wife I never heard of.”

It’s not clear who the recently-discovered 14-year-old was, only that

Her remains were found in a cellar at the site that had been filled with trash, including bones of animals that had been consumed, according to archaeologists.

But she may soon come back to life, in a way:

At the Smithsonian, curators will display a digital reconstruction of the girl’s face.

[‘Zombie Last Supper’ via cantspeakenglish]

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