The mysterious Cart Ruts in Malta

25 April 2014

‘What exactly are Cart Ruts?’ you might ask. Cart ruts are parallel tracks that run through rock and are typically the width of a small vehicle or cart, roughly 140 centimeters or so. Malta has these strange tracks in over 150 different locations. Some may mistake these ruts to be made in soft clay, however they are formed in rock and in most cases, very hard rock. This is where the puzzle begins. 

Cart Ruts at Clapham Junction

Why are so many places in Malta with these deep tracks worn into hard rock? Who did it? Why? Was there a very active society years ago moving lots of heavy material around? Are they man made or even prehistoric? Erich von Daniken theorised in his book ‘Chariots of the Gods’ that these tracks were alien influenced or built. Others suggest it was some form of irrigation system or field furrows.

Cart Ruts on St George's Bay in Birzebbuga

There is evidence to suggest that the deep grooves in the rock are at least 2700 years old as some of the tracks run through Punic tombs that date back at least that long ago and could not have been there when the tracks were made.

Cart Ruts in Id-Dwejra 

The width between the parallel ruts remain fairly consistent similar to modern day railway tracks. They run in lines, around curves, up and down hills and even switch back and forth on steeper slopes in parallel with modern roads. Intriguingly, some of the cart rusts run straight off the edges of ridges and cliffs.

Cart Ruts in Siggiewi

Some are as long as 2 - 3km in a single stretch. However tying them to a specific function raises further questions. The ruts don’t lead to any obvious destinations, prehistoric or ancient, and have left no dateable material. Some of the ruts look random and carelessly bumpy, others look intentionally carved. Its mystery remains unsolved to this day and has been in debate since 1647 when Abela, A Maltese historian, first puzzled over them.

Ta' Blankas Cart Ruts in Gozo

Malta is not the only place where cart ruts can be found in the world. However there are more curt ruts in Malta than anywhere else. Even if you were to count all the cart ruts in the world and combine them, Malta still has more and they are rarely the same as seen in Malta. Looking elsewhere is thus counter productive into solving this mystery.

Author: Adam Claffey

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