The past as a source of conflict is a topic that permeates H. P. Lovecraft’s narratives. This chapter analyses the reasons for which the writer places such a strong emphasis on the past, the various strategies that he uses to transport the past to the present in his texts, and the ways the past reflects his phobias and obsessions. Special attention will be given to three of Lovecraft’s works: At the Mountains of Madness, ‘Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family’ and ‘The Shadow over Innsmouth.’ The novella is a clear example of how Lovecraft combines the history of a primitive alien species with the shape of his own racial views, whereas the other two tales explore the realm of the family heritage and its relation with Darwinism as well as, in a broader sense, the corruption of lineages.
In this paper, the results of the test excavations in two rock shelters in the Central Ethiopian escarpment near the Sudanese border are presented. A continuous sequence of quartz lithic industry, from the lowest levels of K’aaba (with an archaic MSA-like industry of side-scrapers, Levallois- discoid cores and unifacial points) to the upper levels of Bel K’urk’umu (with a LSA industry, characterised by elongated flakes and end-scrapers, that still displays many archaic features such as centripetal flakes and cores) may be inferred. The escarpment’s mountainous and forested areas may have acted as a refuge zone from the end of the Pleistocene, when hyper-arid conditions deterred human occupation of the Sudanese plains nearby, and may also have been a cause for the cultural archaism of the late MSA groups, a case similar to others recorded in the African continent (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nile Valley). The arrival of Sudanese pottery in the mid-Holocene period may be explained by the onset of arid conditions that drove “aqualithic” groups and early herders towards more humid areas. The conservative character of the late prehistoric cultural sequence derived from both sites is consistent with the resilient traditional nature of the Nilo- Saharan groups that currently settle the Ethio-Sudanese borderlands.
Recent re-excavation of Mumba Rockshelter unearthed an unbiased lithic sample from Bed V. Technological analysis has permitted a reinterpretation of the so-called Mumba Industry, a transitional industry between Middle and Later Stone Ages originally defined by Mehlman (1989). Our data confirm Mehlman’s observation that the “evolutionary” markers in Mumba Bed V are basically typological. However, our study differs from his in that we classify all of Bed V as LSA based on the combined analyses of typology and technology in our excavated assemblage. From a technological perspective, no changes have been observed throughout the sequence, and continuity is the main technological characteristic of the series. The only transitional marker from Lower through Upper Bed V is the appearance of the geometric crescent in the latter, taking into account that microliths exist throughout the sequence. This evidence casts some doubts on previous interpretations and underscores the need to recover a larger sample using modern excavation techniques. It also stresses the need to define the MSA/LSA transition in better terms, combining techno-typological criteria.