Discarded Oysters Show Colonists Suffered Drought

Finding bears out old Jamestown histories
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Suggested by Disillusioned
Posted Jun 1, 2010 6:13 PM CDT
A replica of one of the Jamestown settlement ships, seen in a 2007 file photo.   (AP Photo/US Navy - David Shen)

(Newser) – Amazing what poking through the trash reveals, even if it's a few hundred years old. Scientists studying oysters discarded by the early settlers of Jamestown, Virginia, have concluded that the colonists suffered through a horrible drought, reports BBC. The oysters were high in salt, meaning the James River where they were harvested wasn't being fed by freshwater rivers and rain.

The finding isn't a surprise but rather provides scientific heft to the chronicles left behind by the colonists. “It was interesting trying to figure out what was happening in the colony at a time when 70 to 80% of the colonists were dying,” says one researcher, as recounted in Wired. “This was CSI Jamestown." Scientists think the drought was the worst to hit the region in 800 years.

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