Shell analysis confirms early Virginia accounts

An analysis of oyster shells thrown away by colonists in Jamestown, Virginia, indicates that historical accounts of a severe drought in 1611-1612 are correct. The shells show that the James River was much saltier during those years than in the present day, indicating lower rainfall.

Now a luxury, oysters were then considered a hardship food. During the two years immediately before the shells were thrown away, recorded as "The Starving Time," mortality among the colonists was nearly 80%.