A “Sharp Prick of Hunger”: Defining Famine Food

Author(s): Susan Trevarthen Andrews; Joanne Bowen

Year: 2014


Excavations in and around James Fort, have produced what are arguably the most significant series of faunal assemblages ever recovered from this region. Dating from the earliest period of ‘The Starving Time’ of 1609-1610, some of the assemblages bear testimony to the hardships that the colonists faced during the initial years of settlement, revealing what has previously only been read about in the documentary records. Analysis of these faunal assemblages, such as the one associated with the recently discovered ‘Jane,’ have raised the question, ‘How do you know which faunal remains are evidence of ‘The Starving Time?’ By examining food history texts, medieval cuisine, and comparing early James Fort faunal assemblages to later assemblages, we have begun to define which foods would have been considered taboo by the early colonists and which food remains can be used to identify ‘The Starving Time.’

Cite this Record

A “Sharp Prick of Hunger”: Defining Famine Food. Susan Trevarthen Andrews, Joanne Bowen. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437171)

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-62,07