Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Starving Time: More Hunger Games

Recent excavations at Jamestown give grim testimony to some of Percy’s journal entries. Did the starving colonists actually eat shoes, snakes, rats, dogs, etc.? Shoes would not leave much evidence, but animal bones would--even 400 years later. In the cellar pit of the barracks inside the fort archeologists have unearthed the bones of poisonous snakes and musk turtles, butchered horse bones, the bones of the black rat, and dog and cat bones.The dog bones are probably those of a mastiff, which the English used for hunting. In their desperate need, they killed and ate the dogs that might have hunted for game.
         But hunting for game assumes the hunters were not afraid to venture outside the fort.

         When the boots and shoes and dogs and cats were gone, what was left to eat?

George Percy’s journal, continued:

And now famin beginneinge to Looke [so] ghastly and pale in every face, that notheinge was Spared to mainteyne Lyfe and to doe those things which seame incredible, as to digge up deade corpes outt of graves and to eate them.

         And 400 years later, we have evidence that they did.

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