Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Hobbits, Goblins and Lilliputians, Oh My!

Just in time for Halloween: Scientists find fairly modern prehistoric dwarf human skeleton on remote Indonesian island. Now, finding small skeletons of early homo ancestors is normally no big thing. This isn't the missing link. What makes this story fascinating is that they've determined at least one of the skeletons is only 12,000 years old. Which means these dwarf, genetically distinct humans shared the world with modern humans. It is very possible modern humans encountered them. Genetically modern humans were migrating to North America by around 18,000 - 15,000 BC. In the Middle East, this was the "Epipaleolithic" period -which was a pre-Neolithic (or Stone Age) era when humans were just beginning to experiment with the manipulation of plants and creation of tools and were still primarily nomadic hunting/ gathering tribes. It was only 4,000 years or so before they started to domesticate animals and live in settled agricultural communities.

Almost every culture on earth developed some myth or legend revolving little people. They were usually mischieveous spirits. Could these people have been the real life inspiration for legendary European little folk like goblins, imps, elves, leprechauns, brownies and faeries? The Cherokee even had spiritual little people. The Hawaiians had their Menehune.

I can't wait to see the Doscovery or PBS documentary on this. Though maybe there should be a book about it, first. Now see, if I were the type to combine my love of history & archaeology with writing I might attempt it. If I weren't such a gutless chickenshit, that is.

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