The mysterious Cart Ruts on Malta

Bird trapping places

A report

by Walter Hain

Back to German site >>




16. November 2006



  The mysterious "Cart Ruts" on Malta (image:



In the popular scientific literature again and again is reported from the mysterious rail tracks, also trail tracks or cart ruts on the Mediterranean island Malta and the neighboring island Gozo. About the origin and purpose of these tracks in the limestone ground of the islands, there exist the most incredible theories - up to a work of extraterrestrial intelligences. With the help of Google Earth, one can also come exactly localize these strange ground structures, on account of satellite consumption, and perhaps the puzzle can be solved.


The island Malta was already settled probably 8000 years ago of Sicily. Still to 11,000 BC they was combined with the south Italian island. From the time by 5200 to 4600 BC there are the first lanes of human accomodations through cave finds. From 4600 BC are first dwellings and huts to be found and from about 3800 BC it began the Stone Age stage at Malta that left up to now impressive evidences which annual thousands of tourists allure. The megalith temples Mnjadra and Hagar Qim as soon as the Hypogaeum in the city Paola are the main attractions of the island from this time. Ceramic finds, artistic reliefs and paintings as soon as the famous "sleeping lady" show the amazing artistic work of the inhabitants of this period. From about 2500 BC this stage would end and the inhabitants left the island.




From about 2000 BC, in the Bronze Age, however, began a re-colonizing, probably again from Sicily, which brought to light again amazing works - including this strange track structures. Already in 1647 the Spain Gian Francesco Abela believed, that the rail tracks were intended to transport stones to Africa. When the English archaeologist David Trump in 1954 saw these structures, they reminded him of the Clapham Junction in London. Since that time, this area at Misrah Ghar il-kbir where these traces are found, this name.

About the meaning and purpose of these structures was much discussion and, more recently, the so-called "cart ruts" examined in Malta also in a EU-funded project for the determination of cultural products in Europe. In the previous pictures in books and tourists are actually these entities to recognize as a kind of rail tracks or wheel tracks. They run mostly parallel and they also branch out in points - such as rails on a railway station, just that they are not raised furrows and ruts. According to reports, the furrows are 0.70 meters deep and they run at a distance of about 1.40 meters. One can not really escape the impression that since sometime vehicles, carts are driven.



 The "prehistoric rail way station" Clapham Junction on Malta.


However, the satellite images shows a clear picture. According to measurements with Google Earth the tracks of Clapham Junction are up to 180 meters long and about 1.3 meters wide. They are up to 0.4 meters deep. The entire complex covers an area of approximately 200 by 280 meters and is about a kilometer from the sea. Nearby there is a quarry today.


Various attempts and mental models to let today go any car on wheels in the tracks already fail because of the depth of the furrows. The wheels would get stuck in the corners. So I had before - as well as others - postulated carts with wooden poles that might be drawn by oxen. Since ancient times, they are known as "grinding rod". On these rods stone blocks could be attached for transport. Such carts would leave by the grinding of the wooden poles on the ground, parallel furrows. Over time, the furrows would be deeper and deeper until they scrape the limestone floor. It will always replace the rods and that is so over years, perhaps even decades, until the activity is completed. Then the area is abandoned and the tracks remain untouched by human hand back. Then uses the weather.


For centuries, always remains standing rainwater in the furrows and then decomposes the limestone. The furrows are thus deeper. This process is known as "weathering solution", whereby so-called "carts" (troughs) occur that have nothing to do with "cart" (vehicles), and can achieve very large depths. The furrows of the bars are naturally lower than the traces of the animals' hooves, because there can hold water longer and because the furrows have been served during transport as a kind of "rails". Like you see on the Roman roads. To irrigate the channels seem to have not served, because they are parallel and rather suggestive traces of transport. They also run partly into the sea.



Strange rectangular structures


However, a different image shows many strange rectangular structures. They are scattered around the island, mainly near the coast, in different directions, sometimes radiating to diverge, as sections of a model train tracks model or a highway in a nursery. They also act as part of Roman roads. Most of them are on the Dingli Cliffs, located in the southwest of the island. They have lengths of 11-37 meters and widths of 8-15 meters. The satellite image itself changes compared with the previous pictures found. Are they any agricultural purpose? Most of them have not changed over the years. In the immediate vicinity of the structure is usually seen a small building. Of tourists, they are sometimes photographed without further comment. A statement of the purpose of these structures so far I could not find anywhere and it was communicated to me in recent years in this respect nothing. But, this mystery is in meantime solved?




The rectangular structures on Malta near il-Bahrija 2006.


The rectangular structures on Malta near il-Bahrija 2013.






Near Tal-Mehrla 2006.

Near Tal-Mehrla 2013. See the differences!






Near Ras id-Dawwara 2006.

Near Ras id-Dawwara 2013.






Near San Pawl Tal-Pitkali 2006.

Near San Pawl Tal-Pitkali 2013.






Near Hal Far 2006.

Near Hal Far 2013.







Near Benghajasa 2006.

Near Benghajasa 2013.






Enhancements with Google Earth 2013.






The structures on Dingli cliffs near Ta' Dmejrek, under the radar station (image: M. Thyes / Wikipedia 2008). Arrows included.




Enhancements of the structures from the image by M. Thyes / Wikipedia 2008.

These structures have nothing to do with the cart ruts of Clapham Junction (image: E. Bucci). What they means? They are for agricultural use?




Places for bird trapping


According to informations of tourists these structures are places for bird trapping.

Bird trapping is forbidden since Malta is a member of the European Union.





One of these bird trapping places on Malta (Image:


Another one with a bird catcher house  (Image:







Bird trapping place (Image: Monika Trinkler, 2006).

Net on one of these places (Image: Monika Trinkler, 2006).


Remove of a net by local authorities (Image:




The Cart Ruts





The wellknown Cart Ruts of Clapham Junction

(Image: Stanley Borg/Panoramio).

The possibly origin of the Cart Ruts with transport mediums like "grinding poles" known us "travoises" (drawing by Walter Hain, 1982).




Tracks like the cart ruts on Malta and Gozo there are also on other places in the world such as in Sardinia, Sicily, Italy, Spain, Greece, France and Germany. Also in Austria, which have been found - and even more than 3000 kilometers on the Apsheron Peninsula, near the city Mardakyan in Azerbaijan. Not all are of the same origin and not all had to fulfill the same purpose. Some are built with stone brick gutters, some are weathered wagon tracks and some grooves caused by natural erosion. Some of them are simply weathered Roman roads. But the rail tracks on Malta are unique and very impressive. It is very likely that they are simple traces of transport mediums, such as grinding poles (travoises) of wood.





Some coordinates:


35°53'31.10"N   14°20'10.87"E


35°52'56.17"N   14°20'24.92"E


35°52'22.55"N   14°20'54.88"E


35°52'7.73"N   14°21'24.57"E


35°51'39.50"N   14°21'54.73"E


35°51'21.75"N   14°22'16.90"E


Misrah Ghar il-kbir (Clapham Junction), Malta:

35°51'7.05"N   14°23'52.87"E


Mnjadra Temples, Malta:

35°49'36.30"N   14°26'11.28"E


Hagar Qim, Malta:

35°49'39.58"N   14°26'32.35"E


35°48'52.52"N   14°29'8.28"E


35°48'34.50"N   14°30'28.92"E


35°48'29.86"N   14°31'39.84"E


Fort Benghisa:

35°48'32.54"N   14°32'10.84"E



35°55'54.45"N   14°27'19.05"E



35°56'38.98"N   14°26'48.29"E




36° 1'39.22"N   14°18'45.48"E


36° 1'47.44"N   14°19'41.45"E


36° 1'57.50"N   14°20'4.35"E


36° 2'11.90"N   14°19'50.15"E


Aserbaidschan, Mardakyan:


40°28'5.18"N   50°12'58.59"E


40°23'5.18"N   50°12'58.59"E





Benesch, Kurt: Rätsel der Vergangenheit ( Riddles of the past), Berlin-Vienna, Germany-

                            Austria 1977.

Hain, Walter: Irrwege der Geschichte (Wrong ways in History), Vienna, Austria 1981.

Däniken, Erich v.: Prophet der Vergangenheit (Prophet of the past), Düsseldorf,

                            Germany 1979.

   -"-                   : Die Spuren der Außerirdischen (The tracks of Extraterrestrials),

                            Munich, Germany 1990.





Card of Misrah Ghar il-kbir (Clapham Junction):






Satellite images:

Google Earth / Europa Technologies / Digital Globe


Image: M. Thyes:


Image: E. Bucci:


Image: Stanley Borg/Panoramio:


See also:



Search with Google Earth:






Site first published by Walter Hain, November 2006 -

Revised Oktober 2015 - Kontakt