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.
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Limestone is a highly successful and widely used building material, found in many important historic buildings and new monuments around the world. Whilst its success reflects its durability under a wide range of environmental conditions, there are still important questions surrounding the selection, use and conservation of building limestones. In order to make best use of new limestone today, and to conserve old limestone most effectively, we need to bring modern research methods to bear on understanding the characteristics of different limestones, what mortars to use, and how key limestones have responded to polluted atmospheres. This volume brings together recent inter-disciplinary research on these issues, illustrating the diversity of innovative techniques that are now being applied to furthering our understanding of building limestones.