International Journal of Modern Anthropology

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Cart-ruts in Lanzarote (Canary Islands, Spain) and Malta: first evidence of dating supported by dated ceramics

Antonio Arnaiz-Villena, Marcial Medina, Adrian López-Nares, Julian Rodriguez-Rodriguez, Valentín Ruiz-del-Valle


Cart-ruts were first described throughout Malta Archipelago; they were defined as abundant prehistoric Bronze Age Man constructions carved in rock although more recently built cart-ruts may be possible. They consist of deep ruts, rails, tracks, grooves and channels that rarely are strictly parallel. Some of them are convergent or perpendicular to others and also they may abruptly change to curved lines. They are placed either in plains or hill slopes with a variable and high inclination, Cart-ruts purpose is not known, as there were no written images, myth or verbal record about what they were used for. A conjoint multiauthor European Union Project on cart-ruts has found no new conclusion except stressing where they had been found: Malta and Turkey (Bronze Age) and also in Africa (Tunisia, Libya and Egypt) and Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Greece, Portugal, England and Azerbaijan. Other authors have described them also in Azores Islands and in Lanzarote (Canary Islands, Spain). In the present paper, we show evidence that cart-ruts are found all over Lanzarote Island, mostly placed on hills (volcanoes) tops or slopes. This fact together with their limited length discards their use for transport vehicles. On the other hand, some Malta and Gozo Islands (Malta) pottery decoration dated on 5th-4th millennium BC has been found that may represent cart-ruts. This is the first objective and independent evidence indicating that cart-ruts may be dated by other prehistoric information. Also, cart-ruts social, ritual and religious importance is discussed, as they could be used for space and time measurements, including astronomical calculations.

Keywords: Malta, Gozo, Cart-ruts, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura,  "Quesera"/Cheeseboard, Lunisolar calendar, Iberian writing, Guanche writing, Zonzamas, Canary Islands, Guanches, Majos, Archaeoastronomy, Goddess, Achano, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Azores, Azerbaijan, Ceramics.
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