The Settlers of Cannibal Island

Jamestown Island, Virginia, war die erste permanente Kolonie englischer Siedler in Nord-Amerika. Und dort haben sie bei Ausgrabungen im Keller einer alten Küche die Überreste eines 14jährigen Mädchens gefunden und die weisen ziemlich eindeutig kannibalistische Spuren auf. Ob die USA nun ihren Thanksgiving Feiertag den historischen Fakten anpassen, bleibt allerdings mehr als fraglich.

Owsley and his research team identified a number of features on the skull and tibia that indicated the individual was cannibalized. Four shallow chops to the forehead represent a failed first attempt to open the skull. The back of the head was then struck by a series of deep, forceful chops from a small hatchet or cleaver. The final blow split the cranium open. Sharp cuts and punctures mark the sides and bottom of the mandible, reflecting efforts to remove tissue from the face and throat using a knife.

“The desperation and overwhelming circumstances faced by the James Fort colonists during the winter of 1609–1610 are reflected in the postmortem treatment of this girl’s body,” said Owsley. “The recovered bone fragments have unusually patterned cuts and chops that reflect tentativeness, trial and complete lack of experience in butchering animal remains. Nevertheless, the clear intent was to dismember the body, removing the brain and flesh from the face for consumption.”

Evidence of survival cannibalism found at Jamestown