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Title: Description, history and archaeology of cart-ruts
Other Titles: The significance of cart-ruts in ancient landscapes
Authors: Magro Conti, Joseph
Saliba, Paul C.
Keywords: Archaeology -- Malta
Cart ruts (Archaeology) -- Malta
Archaeology -- Methodology -- Malta
Archaeological surveying -- Malta
Excavations (Archaeology) -- Malta
Malta -- History -- Phoenician and Punic period, 8th century B.C.-218 B.C.
Bronze age -- Malta
Cart ruts (Archaeology) -- Malta -- History
Fomm ir-Rih (Mgarr, Malta)
Tarxien Temples (Tarxien, Malta)
Borg in-Nadur (Birzebbuga, Malta)
Domus Romana (Rabat, Malta)
Roman Villa (Rabat, Malta)
Fort Saint Angelo (Vittoriosa, Malta)
Issue Date: 2005
Publisher: Midsea Books
Citation: Magro Conti, J., & Saliba, P. C. (2005). Description, history and archaeology of cart-ruts. In J. Magro Conti, & P. C. Saliba (Eds.), The significance of cart-ruts in ancient landscapes (pp. 33-51). Sta Venera: Midsea Books.
Abstract: Something that is considered as an enigma is deprived of a valid explanation leading to various hypotheses, misconceptions, misinterpretation, and reinterpretation. This uncertainty leads to confusion and conflict of opinion. In the absence of a clear train of thought full or partial answers are often due to biased or entrenched perceptions on which interpretations are made about the enigma. Such has been the case of investigating and interpreting the cart-ruts found in the Maltese Islands. This, despite that several questions were put forward in an attempt to explain and solve the enigma of the Maltese cart-ruts. There is lack of direct textual and graphic evidence about how, why, and when the cart-ruts were made. As such, the cart-ruts provide only indirect evidence of human endeavour and were not intended to convey any special meaning. Consequently, one needs to adopt procedures of investigation similar to those used for the study of prehistoric features and landscapes for which textual evidence is also missing. Notwithstanding this, some cart-ruts, to say the least, may not even date to prehistoric times, but may have been created during historic eras. Despite this, contemporary textual and graphic evidence is absent, or so far not apparent. Speaking of Maltese archaeology in general, regardless of the difficulties met with in assembling in chronological order the available direct and indirect archaeological material evidence, it seems that by and large most of the larger jigsaw puzzle pieces depicting Malta's prehistoric and historical past are now in place. It has not been an easy task, but thanks to the work carried out since the late nineteenth-century to date by a number of prominent scholars in various fields and with the help of modern scientific methods, such as carbon dating, Malta's past is now better understood. However, there are still some pieces that somehow cannot fit with certainty in any part of the jigsaw of the Malta's archaeology in general. One such enigma concerns the ancient rock-cut tracks, more commonly known as the cart-ruts. These will be described in detail further on. This has puzzled scholars and travellers at least since the mid-seventeenth century: The enigma is still with us. Contemporary archaeologists still struggle with this piece trying to fit it into the large jigsaw and often they try to place it within their own area of specialization. This study aims at addressing the enigma of the cart-ruts through multiple interpretations, rather than entrenching the argument into a one-sided view. Such biased opinions often constricted interpretation by forcing, distorting, misinterpreting or even forging conclusions. Special attention was paid to analyse and discuss the date and function of the cart-ruts. However, the results are still open to further research and this is a commitment that the authors intend to keep.
ISBN: 9789993272038
Appears in Collections:The significance of cart-ruts in ancient landscapes

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