The changing Maltese soil environment: evidence from the ancient cart tracks at San Pawl Tat-Tarġa, Naxxar
Derek Mottershead, Paul Farres, Alastair Pearson, 2010. "The changing Maltese soil environment: evidence from the ancient cart tracks at San Pawl Tat-Tarġa, Naxxar", Limestone in the Built Environment: Present-Day Challenges for the Preservation of the Past, B. J. Smith, M. Gomez-Heras, H. A. Viles, J. Cassar
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The historic cart ruts of Malta are incised into the underlying bedrock topography. Anomalous relationships between their routeways and the uneven terrain beneath suggest that they originated on a land surface different from that of today. An exposure close to a cart-rut location near Naxxar reveals evidence of limestone terrain development and its role in the evolution of the cart-rut patterns. Specifically, it reveals that cart trackways were most probably superimposed from a soil cover onto an underlying bedrock surface topographically different from the former soil surface. A model is developed demonstrating likely relationships between human activity, soil erosion and trackway evolution leading to the incision of the trackways into the bedrock.