Secrets of the Dead: JFK - Jamestown's Dark Winter

About This Episode


Jamestown, Virginia. The site of the first permanent English colony the Americas settled in 1607 and the home of the archaeological site “Historic Jamestowne” today. It has long been speculated that the harsh conditions faced by the colonists during the winter of 1609, often referred to as the “starving time,” might have made them desperate enough to participate in the unthinkable, and perhaps even commit murder to do so.

Archaeologists have been excavating in Jamestown for more than 20 years. In April 2012, a team of Historic Jamestowne archeologists discovered something surprising in their excavation. In the trash layer of a cellar, among the butchered animal bones and household trash discarded by the Jamestown colonists, they found the mutilated skull and severed leg of a 14-year-old English girl dating back to 1609. What can these bones tell us about what really happened at Jamestown? Jamestown’s Dark Winter goes in search of answers.