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S2 Ep3

Death at Jamestown

Premiere: 7/10/2001

Three years after setting foot on American shores, 440 of the original 500 Jamestown settlers had died. Why did deadly outbreaks strike just after the ships headed home? And is it a coincidence that the only map of the colony today belongs to Spain? Take a 21st-century look at the eerie the plight of these fated settlers.

Death at Jamestown

About This Episode


CASE FILE: Death at Jamestown
THE SCENE: 17th Century Virginia
LEAD DETECTIVE: Drs. William M. Kelso and Franklin Hancock

Death at Jamestown takes a 21st-century look at the eerie fate of the men and boys who left London to establish the first permanent British colony in North America: Jamestown, Virginia. Three years after they first set foot on American shores, 440 of the original 500 settlers had died. Supply ships arrived from England carrying new colonists and fresh vigor, yet the mortality rate continued to soar. Death came in sudden, brutal waves, from a mysterious ailment that wreaked severe bruising, weakness, wasting, and madness on its victims before killing them altogether. While famine, internal strife, polluted water, and Indian attacks might certainly explain some of the fatalities, the death rate was still higher than it should have been under the circumstances. When the body of an original colonist turns up in the excavation of the Jamestown fort, archeologists and forensic experts find a clue that points to murder. Is it a coincidence that deadly outbreaks seemed to strike just after the supply ships headed home? Is it a coincidence, too, that the only map of the colony today belongs to Spain? And what could a fanatical Catholic have to do with the deaths? SECRETS OF THE DEAD: “Death at Jamestown” paints an eerie new picture of the conditions in Jamestown, and implicates some very unlikely culprits.

Production Credits

Commissioning Editor for Channel 4 (UK):
Dan Chambers

Alex Marengo

Simon Andreae, Alex Marengo

Post Production Supervisor:
Tara Thomas

Liev Schreiber

Coordinating Producer:
Jared Lipworth

Executive in Charge:
William R. Grant

Executive Producer:
Beth Hoppe

© 2002 Educational Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.



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