Indications of Faunal Starvation in Jamestown Colony

Author(s): Michelle Carpenter

Year: 2018


The interpretations surrounding the first English colony founded in Jamestown, Virginia has developed through analyses of historical documents and excavations of the archaeological record. Continued excavations have provided an analysis of fauna within the colony affected by the diminishing food stores during the starving months of 1609 and 1610. Faunal remains were sampled from two archeological water wells in Jamestown dating to 1607-1610 and the second well from 1650. Based upon the preliminary results of collagen extraction by IRMS, fauna from the starvation months indicate an increase of δ15N within the bone. These findings could be the result of extreme dietary distress expected to be consistent with δ15N levels of the starvation period. Bioapatite was also analyzed for the overall diet of fauna sampled from the starvation months and the 1650 deposition. Due to the aqueous burial context, samples were analyzed for preservation by ATR-FTIR and IRMS. Faunal remains were compared to the 1650 archaeological well for dietary stability and preservation of hydroxyapatite crystals within the bone samples.

Cite this Record

Indications of Faunal Starvation in Jamestown Colony. Michelle Carpenter. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442621)

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Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21864