Jamestown settlers ‘turned to cannibalism’, evidence suggests

Human bones discovered in a rubbish pit show evidence that the first permanent English settlers in North America turned to cannibalism, according to researchers. The remains of a teenage girl, found in James Fort, Virginia, featured cuts consistent with butchering, which experts believe would have taken place in the harsh winter of 1609-1610. Although analysis of written records had previously suggested that the struggling colonists resorted to cannibalism, the discovery represents what could be the first scientific proof.

Doug Owsley, a forensic anthropologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, said: “There were numerous chops and cuts – chops to the forehead, chops to the back of the skull and also a puncture to the left side of the head that was used to essentially pry off that side. The clear intent was to remove the facial tissue and the brain for consumption. These people were in dire circumstances, so any flesh that was available would have been used.”




Eight skeletons uncovered beneath Edinburgh car park

Archaeologists in Edinburgh have uncovered eight skeletons next to the location where the bones of a medieval kinght was found beneath a car park. The site, within the confines of an ancient wall which may be the remains of a family crypt, was formerly that of the 13th-century Blackfriars Monastery and is being cleared to build the new Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation.


F Scott Fitzgerald archive goes online

A set of handwritten records drawn up by F Scott Fitzgerald has been made available to explore online. The new website, created by a team from the University of South Carolina, details The Great Gatsby author’s life, publications and income between the years of 1919 and 1938.


National Library of Wales fire ‘most difficult moment in its history’


A fire at the National Library of Wales in Aberytstwyth was “the most difficult moment” in its history, according to the institution’s president Sir Deian Hopkin. The fire, which broke out on 26 April, destroyed a section of the building’s roof and damaged parts of an undisclosed collection, which is currently being assessed by a specialist salvage company.

Mary Rose jets turned off after almost 30 years

Protective jets used to spray the hull of the Mary Rose have been switched off for the first time since the warship was salvaged in 1982. The vessel, which has been constantly doused with water and wax chemicals, will be dried out over the next five years in an airtight ‘hot box’ chamber in the new Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, set to open on 31 May.


Replica Richard III head to go on tour

A reconstruction of Richard III’s head is to tour England before becoming part of a new exhibition in Leicester. The model, based on a digital image of the king’s skull, will go on display in Bosworth, York, Northampton and the British Museum, ahead of returning to a permanent museum in the city where the remains were discovered last year.


Winston Churchill to feature on new banknote

Sir Winston Churchill is set to appear on a new banknote issued by the Bank of England. Although plans have yet to be finalised, the portrait of the wartime prime minister is thought to be due to replace the image of social reformer Elizabeth Fry that currently appears on the back of the five pound note.


1903 ‘Devon beast’ uncovered in museum basement

The remains of a giant cat which stalked the Devon countryside before being shot in 1903 have been discovered in the basement of Bristol Museum. Tests indicate that the Canadian lynx, which it is believed could be the earliest example of such an animal to have roamed the UK, had likely spent time in captivity before escaping or being set free.


Image credits: University of South Carolina (Fitzgerald); University of Leicester (Richard head)