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In Brief

Remains of First Englishwoman to Settle in New World Found

November 26, 1998

Virginia researchers believe they have discovered the skeletal remains of Mistress Forrest who, in 1608, became the first woman in the first permanent English settlement in the New World at Jamestown Island. A team from the Society for Preservation of Virginia Antiquities says it bases its conclusions on the following evidence: The skeleton belongs to someone whose diet consisted of wheat, not corn, indicating she was a recently arrived European. In addition, artifacts at the burial site can be dated to 1608, when there were only two women at Jamestown, Mistress Forrest and her maid. And the remains were in an elaborate coffin, indicating the woman's high social standing.

Using the skull, sculptor/anthropologist Sharon Long has created a facial restoration of the settler (inset), the first image of a Virginia woman from the early 17th century other than Pocahontas.

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Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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