Newly-discovered Cart Ruts at Attard at risk of being reburied out of sight of the public

Photo: Daniel Cilia

A new set of well-preserved cart ruts has been discovered outside the Government Farm at Wied Inċita, in Mdina Road, Attard. The cart ruts are a fine example of these enigmatic features which characterise the Maltese landscape, and which may date from the prehistoric Bronze Age.

This particular stretch of cart ruts is especially significant because:

  1. they are the only known cart ruts in the Attard area; 
  2. they are an excellent example of how ancient cart ruts often appear to run along the same route as modern roads; 
  3. the different types of profile that they show suggest that they were in use for several centuries.

The cart ruts were discovered during the preparatory works for the Central Link project. After being carefully exposed and recorded under the direction of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, they are now at risk of being hidden again from public sight, beneath the newly widened road.

The Archaeological Society Malta and Din l-Art Ħelwa are very concerned that Malta’s precious and non-renewable archaeological resources continue to be eroded and mismanaged because of ill-prepared projects that are designed and committed to before a thorough understanding of their archaeological impact. Last Thursday’s decision to approve another major road-widening project at Għeriexem, Rabat, before a thorough archaeological survey, against the advice of ERA and of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, will inevitably have similar consequences.

The Attard cart ruts are located along a length of the Rabat road which is particularly wide, and characterised by very wide pavements, centre strips and flower beds, all of which should facilitate the realignment of the road to avoid going over the cart ruts. The Archaeological Society Malta and Din l-Art Ħelwa strongly urge Infrastructure Malta, in close consultation with the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, to commit serious efforts to redesigning the road alignment in order to allow the cart ruts to remain visible and enjoyable. The right of the public to enjoy archaeological resources is an important value enshrined in Maltese law and international conventions. It would be ironic and unacceptable if a project funded by Maltese and European taxpayers fails to make every possible effort to integrate this goal in its designs.

The Archaeological Society Malta

Din l-Art Ħelwa

Photo: Daniel Cilia
Photo: Daniel Cilia