Doug Owsley, division head for Physical Anthropology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, displays the skull and facial reconstruction of "Jane of Jamestown", Washington, May 1, 2013. / AP PHOTO/CAROLYN KASTER
(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.