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Scientists find cannibalism at American settlement

11:54 AM, May 1, 2013   |    comments
This Sidney King painting, an aerial view of Jamestown Island, depicts Jamestown Fort and New Towne, in Virginia. The painting hangs in the National Park Service Visitor Center at Jamestown Island, Va. (Gannett News Service/National Park Service)
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Scientists say they have found the first solid archaeological evidence that some of the earliest American colonists survived harsh conditions by resorting to cannibalism.

On Wednesday, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and archaeologists from Jamestown announced the discovery of the bones of a 14-year-old girl with clear signs that she was cannibalized.

The human remains date back to the deadly winter of 1609-1610, known as the "starving time" in Jamestown, when hundreds of colonists died. Scientists have said the settlers arrived from England during the worst drought in 800 years.

For years, there had been unconfirmed tales of starving early colonists resorting to eating dogs, mice, snakes, shoe leather and even their own dead.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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