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Forensics

The biological profile of every skeleton is unique, so a bone biography combined with evidence at the scene of excavation can answer many questions about the life of an unidentified person. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Douglas Owsley and his team at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution have examined several Jamestown skeletons: one that had been shot in the leg and another that proved to be a young boy hit with an arrow in 1607. The Smithsonian provided important clues that another James Fort burial was that of Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, a major planner of the colony. In 2012, Owsley's team was given the challenge of analyzing the remains found in the James Fort L-shaped cellar.

What does forensic science tell us about Jane?

Forensic information in bones can tell us age, ancestry, diet, cause of death, height, injury, illness, and gender.

How does isotopic testing locate Jane's origin?

Carbon signature can indicate how much corn (New World grain) a Jamestown colonist has consumed versus wheat or barley (Old World).

What can scientific investigation tell us about Jane and cannibalism?

A close study confirmed suspicions: the remains had been "processed."

How can science help us see Jane?

The shape and characteristics of a human skull determine what people look like on the surface more than most people imagine.

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