A DISCUSSION ABOUT TROLLS IN RELATION TO NEANDERTHALS
A while ago I had a brief discussion of the existence of Troll`s and a suggestion, that there could be similarities between troll`s and Neanderthals. From what I have learned myself about Neanderthals they have largely been misinterpreted by people outside of academe, I think the same can be said about troll`s! Often labelled as brutish creatures of low intelligence, which I believe to be wrong. You only have to look at stone tool assemblages to see that a fairly sophisticated tradition was in use. these are creatures who live among natural habitats using what they need. And being part of nature unlike humans who act above nature, and take unnecessarily.
Im my own stories of Trolls they are protecting the forests from the unprecedented attack from people on their ancient homelands, they simply want to be left alone without interference from folk. What is it with the human trait of interfering with what does not concern them? Trolls lead a holistic natural way of life, I think Neanderthals may have been similar. When the first Homo Sapiens appeared they seem to be more aggressive than their counter parts who have been suggested were more docile, this has also been suggested why Homo Sapiens endured being more cunning. Although not as robust and strong, they adapted to a changing environment that Neanderthals appeared to have not. This is were I think it becomes really interesting, was their warfare between the two groups? Obviously it would be difficult to interpret, and would go down the subjective route of discussion. And there may be many ambiguities in looking at sites, where both groups were present. My main question is were Neanderthals wrongly explained, and they were in fact Trolls? Clive Gamble talks about the folk traditions of Yetis and Almas, why not then the tradition of trolls? After all the tales of trolls goes back a long way in Scandinavian folklore, Terry Pratchett mentioned “What makes us human” this was in discussion about Xmas and our human need to believe things of otherness. So with tales of fantastical creatures and beasts there must be some truth in them? I feel that there is a desire to relay stories about otherworldly creatures, is it just our imagination that takes us off to another place with these tales. I feel there must be some basis of truth through a vague oral tradition that trolls did at some stage exist, and with more scientific research there may have been an evolutionary strain that was the troll. In Johanna Sinisalo book “Not Before Sundown” mentions an interesting point, “Because of their great outward resemblance to humans or apes, trolls were originally mistaken for close relatives of the hominids; but further study has demonstrated that the case is one of convergent evolution”
So could there be different types of trolls over time, as they are believed to be long-lived creatures? From the stories I have read reveal an almost reclusive type of creature, and that they live in remote areas away from humans. And their numbers of populations would be small if they did walk this earth; in scattered groups in the remote parts of the earth, I would like to believe that this is so. Maybe through anecdotal or oral histories more can be revealed, or perhaps archaeological evidence may become apparent in the future. I think smaller groups would fit this model especially if they do live among us today, they would have characteristics that would surely vary between trolls? In their behaviour within these groups and how they behave amongst one another, I wonder if in all the stories whether this can be deciphered? I find this whole phenomenon fascinating I just hope and believe that there is some truth in the things I have discussed above.
One last point I would like to make is the collection of folk tales. Asbjørnsen Moe collected stories in the nineteenth century, but what lies before this? From the depths of time is there something more tangible evidence from these oral traditions; we also have The Kalevala that Elias Lönnrot who collected this story from various parts of Finland, which has a very long oral tradition. With all these folktales I believe that there must be something that has a physical past. Through the murk of time, and that these stories in certain contexts did exist in some sense of a real past.
Clive Gamble The Peopling of Europe 700, 000-40,000 Years Before Present. The Oxford Illustrated Prehistory of Europe Ed Barry Cunnliffe. Oxford University Press 1994
Johanna Sinisalo, Not Before Sundown. Peter Owen London 2010
Norwegian Folktales Selected From The Collection of Peter Christen Asbjørnsen And Jørgen Moe Pantheon Books New York.
Oxford World Classics The Kalevala An Epic Poem After Oral Tradition By Elias Lönnrot, Translated By Keith Bosley. Oxford University Press 2008