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Old 06-08-17, 10:32   #1
 
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Oh Crap! Secrets of Birth of America: Settlers Ate Rats. Indians Saved Others by Feeding Them

The Delightful (and Dastardly) Secrets of the Birth of America: Inside the Colonial Site of Jamestown, Where Starving English Settlers Feasted on Rats and Even Other HUMANS

  • The Mail on Sunday's Giles Milton toured the archaeological site of Jamestown in the state of Virginia
  • The ancient human skull of a young female revealed she had been likely been eaten by her fellow settlers
  • It's the setting for an epic new series, Jamesown, which tells the story of the women who arrived in 1619
  • The Indians saved many of other new settlers lives by feeding them.


Daily Mail UK, 6 August 2017.


The archaeologists had no reason to suspect foul play when they first unearthed the human skull.
It looked much like all the others extracted from the clay soil at Jamestown in the US state of Virginia. But when they examined it more closely, they noticed something deeply disturbing.

Knife cuts had been deliberately scored on the front of the skull and the rear had been brutally smashed open with a heavy object. It was clear that Jane for that's the name the archaeologists gave to this unknown English adolescent had been butchered and eaten by her fellow settlers.

It's a story that doesn't make it into Universal Pictures' epic new series Jamestown.





Giles Milton toured the archaeological site of Jamestown (pictured) in the state of Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas.
This gripping drama follows the adventures of the first settlers in the New World. Among them is a feisty band of women who arrived in Virginia in 1619.


But it tells only half the story. Archaeologists working at Jamestown have pieced together the dramatic true story of the first settlers in America a tale of starvation, murder and cannibalism.

Jamestown is one of the world's most exhilarating archaeological sites, and one of few open to visitors. You can also visit the adjacent reconstructed settlement, complete with 'interpreters' acting out the roles of those first settlers.

I start my visit by meeting Bill Kelso, the Indiana Jones of American archaeology. He has put this forgotten corner of Virginia firmly on the tourist circuit. He not only found the lost city of Jamestown America's very own Machu Picchu but has spent the past quarter-century excavating it.

'I was boating on the James River when I noticed a strange dark band in the riverbank,' he says. 'I suddenly realised it might contain the remains of the first colony.'

Kelso explains that Jamestown was for years the holy grail of American archaeology. The fortified town was long believed to have been washed away by the James River. But when he dug a trial trench, he found himself unearthing muskets, pots and bones of the very first settlers.







In 2012, the ancient human skull of a young female revealed she had been likely been eaten by her fellow settlers. Excavators named her Jane, and pictured (right) is a reconstruction of her face .


Quote:

" We know the first settlers ran out of food and it was a period known as the starving time, when the settlers ate rats and mice.
The Indians saved many of other new settlers lives by feeding them. "

.


He has since become something of a celebrity. When the Queen came here in 2007 for the 400th anniversary of Jamestown's founding it was Kelso who showed her around.

'I was worried she'd ask for everything back,' he jokes. 'If so, I was going to tell her, "Finders, keepers." '

The Jamestown TV series depicts the colony as it first begins to flourish, with the arrival of the first women and a dynamic new governor, Sir George Yeardley.

'We think we've located his skeleton,' says Kelso. This coming autumn, forensic scientists from the Smithsonian will be conducting tests on the newly discovered bones.

But it is Jane's fractured skull that caused the biggest stir.

The discovery of Jane showed they also ate each other. 'We never really believed the stories of cannibalism until we found her skull,' says Kelso.

At the archaeological site you can witness the terrible birth pangs of colonial America, the recently identified skeletons, along with the finest of the two million artefacts unearthed by Kelso and his team.




At the settlement there is a world-class museum, three reconstructed galleons and dozens of actor-interpreters in period costume to help you make sense of the place



Jamestown is one of the world's most exhilarating archaeological sites, and one of few open to visitors. You can also visit the adjacent reconstructed settlement, complete with 'interpreters' acting out the roles of those first settlers


At the settlement there is a world-class museum, three reconstructed galleons and dozens of actor-interpreters in period costume to help you make sense of the place.

There is also a great deal more to see in the Historic Triangle of coastal Virginia.

Nearby Williamsburg remains little changed from the early 1700s. It is a near-perfectly preserved Georgian town that's been turned into a living museum. Actor-inhabitants play out the lives of the colonial inhabitants who once lived here, all dressed in period costume.

Just a few miles along the Colonial Parkway is Yorktown, a miniature Regency town complete with clapperboard houses, a battlefield and an excellent American Revolution Museum.

Yorktown was the setting for one of the most momentous battles in British and American history. It was here that Charles Cornwallis's army was trounced by the Americans, thereby paving the way for independence.




The new Jamestown TV series (pictured) depicts the colony as it first begins to flourish, with the arrival of the first women


The battlefield is immense and best visited on rented bikes. As you cycle a trail that winds through forests, swamps and meadows, a series of historic panels guide you through the unfolding drama.

This is Virginia at its most bucolic: a stunning slice of pristine wilderness. This trio of places lie just a three-hour drive from Washington DC, yet attract few British tourists. It's hard to fathom why.

It's not for a lack of amenities: the region has a string of superb restaurants. My favourite was the Williamsburg Winery. The food scores particularly highly, especially the clams, oysters and crabs from Chesapeake Bay.

Universal Pictures' depiction of Jamestown shows a colonial town with a crowd of dastardly men and headstrong women. It's tempting to wonder what they would make of modern-day Virginia.

One thing is sure. They'd have loved the fast-food outlets and the array of locally brewed beers. And they would certainly have preferred dining la carte at the Williamsburg Winery than munching their way through poor old Jane.
END


NB:
Season 1 of the new series Jamestown is available on this site for REGISTERED MEMBERS ONLY....
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