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  The morphological variability of Maltese ‘cart ruts’ and its implications

Groucutt, H. S. (2022). The morphological variability of Maltese ‘cart ruts’ and its implications. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 41: 103287, pp. 1-9. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2021.103287.

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 Creators:
Groucutt, Huw S.1, 2, Author              
Affiliations:
1Max Planck Research Group Extreme Events, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_3262629              
2Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, Kahlaische Str. 10, 07745 Jena, DE, ou_2074312              

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Free keywords: Malta, prehistory, landscape, Mediterranean prehistory, limestone
 Abstract: Hundreds of ‘cart ruts’ – pairs of incised parallel grooves in the bedrock – are found across the Maltese archipelago in the central Mediterranean. The age, functional association, formation processes, and taphonomic alteration of these ruts, which occur here with a globally unrivalled frequency, has been much debated. Generally seen as being created by erosion from vehicles such as wheeled carts, or alternatively being cut into the rock to facilitate movement of such vehicles, specific models range from the use of carts to move soil in the Neolithic to them reflecting classical era stone quarrying, and many other possibilities. One interesting aspect concerns the morphological variability of the cart ruts, such as the notion that they have a standard gauge (width between ruts), and that this gauge is very similar to that of modern railway tracks. Evaluating the morphological variability of the cart ruts contributes to an understanding of the phenomenon, as, for instance, we might expect that if they date to different periods, with different functions, and/or were extensively modified by geomorphological processes this will be reflected in the character of their morphological variability. The analysis suggests that cart ruts are fairly standardised in terms of basic measurements such as widths and depth, perhaps suggesting that they are of a consistent age and function. This study identified a need for definitional clarity as the commonly cited gauge measurements are not taken in the same way as gauge is defined for railway tracks. There are hints of rut shape changes reflecting extensive use and or processes such as limestone dissolution, which give insights into their formation histories.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-12-072022-02
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: 9
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: 1. Introduction
1.1. Background and context
1.2. Previous work on cart-rut morphology
2. Methods
3. Results
3.1. General remarks
3.2. Relationships between morphological features
4. Discussion
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2021.103287
DOI: 10.31219/osf.io/83kcj
Other: shh3011
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Title: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Amsterdam [u.a.] : Elsevier
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 41 Sequence Number: 103287 Start / End Page: 1 - 9 Identifier: ISSN: 2352-409X
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/2352-409X

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Title: OSF Preprints
Source Genre: Web Page
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Publ. Info: Charlottesville : Center for Open Science
Pages: - Volume / Issue: - Sequence Number: 83kcj Start / End Page: - Identifier: URN: https://osf.io/preprints/