As I was filling up my kids with eggs this morning (state standardized test week), Steve read the newspaper in the midst of the chaos. He likes to stand up at the counter and read the paper in Ground Zero for the morning routine.
I glanced over at the open paper. He was engrossed in the article about new evidence that the Jamestown colony had to resort to cannibalism to survive.
It's a great article that talks about the extreme starvation that the colony faced. It also describes the break throughs in genetic research that have helped historians understand the past.
From the state of her molars, she is judged to have been 14 years old. Isotopes in her bones indicate that she had eaten a high-protein diet, so she was probably not a maidservant but the daughter of a gentleman.
Dr. Owsley said in an interview that he could tell she was English because of his familiarity with English skeletal remains of the 17th century and from scientific tests. The ratio of oxygen isotopes in her bones indicated that she had grown up in the southern coastal regions of England, Dr. Owsley said, and the carbon isotopes pointed to a diet that included English rye and barley.
As my frustrated historian hubby walked out of the house, he was talking about tree rings and core samples from Greenland and entomology and all the other new techniques that anthropologists and historians have at their disposal.
More at the Atlantic.