Friday, May 25, 2007

Did they resort to eating dead colonists?
George Percy, one of Jamestown's early leaders, provided in about 1625 what is probably the best-known and most gruesome account. He described a "worlde of miseries" that included hunger-crazed colonists digging up the dead and one man who killed, "salted" and carved up his wife for food.

This story was repeated, and luridly embellished, over the years. "Whether she was better roasted, boiled or carbonado'd (barbecued), I know not," the colony's famous Capt. John Smith wrote in his version of events about the same time. "Such a dish as powdered wife, I never heard of."

Percy reported that he had the unnamed murderer hanged by his thumbs to extract a confession and then had him executed for the "crewell and unhumane" act.

But archaeologists have been wary of the Jamestown cannibalism reports.

It notes no actual archaeological evidence of cannibalism.