Land use in prehistoric malta. A re-examination of the maltese ‘cart ruts’


  • Claudia Sagona

    1. Centre for Classics and Archaeology
      The School of Art History, Cinema, Classics and Archaeology
      The University of Melbourne
      Victoria 3010
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Summary.  This paper explores the manufacture and function of the so-called ‘cart ruts’ within the harsh environment of Malta and proposes that they were deliberately constructed in order to push the boundaries of available arable land and are better identified as field furrows. Using comparative ethnographic evidence as well as archaeological data from European contexts, it is argued that the driving force, which necessitated their manufacture in Malta, lay in socio-economic pressures. It is argued that the ruts are of high antiquity, products of Temple Period intensification and marginalism in land use.