Signs of the Gods book by Erich Von Daniken (author of the infamous Chariots of the Gods) has a chapter on the many mysteries of the islands of Malta and Gozo including the Maltese cart ruts, the megalithic stone structures and the incredible Hypogeum (underground complex with its awe inspiring acoustics and over 7000 skeleton remains).
For those interested in the possibility of extra terrestrials, aliens, UFO’s and Cart Ruts there is another article on that subject here.
Erich von Däniken’s English version of the book was published in 1980 (free Scribd online version). Daniken investigates and explores in decent detail the standard archaeology and history theories about the origin, formation and purpose of Malta’s cart ruts.
Erich then puts on his practical hat and dissects these claims when put against their dating, the supposed technology of the time and the environment, and especially with what can be observed at the different sites of the cart tracks.
If you do not believe the accepted theories about the origins of the cart ruts and especially what their purpose was then this book is for you as Daniken slaughters the mainstream theories.
His chapter on the cart grooves of Malta is a very good summing up of all the reasons why the cart ruts were not built for transportation and why most modern ideas are wrong. Since he wrote the book there have been some developments in cart ruts information, especially about them being found around the Mediterranean and the world, although not in the numbers found on Malta and Gozo.
I have had Daniken Signs of the Gods book for a couple of years but only read it today when someone visiting me looked at it and pointed out it had a chapter on the Maltese cart tracks!
Daniken suggests that the megalithic temples and cart ruts were built as a sign of worship or admiration to the Maltese gods. That the old Gods of man who lived amongst us, for example perhaps the giants like the Nephalim mentioned in the Bible, may have helped man construct the massive stone buildings and ruts, perhaps using techniques that were not necessarily available to ancient man. There are a few short quotes from Däniken’s book at the bottom of this article.
Daniken laments the passing of the Maltese culture and way of life since his last holiday to the islands. This was in the late 1970’s so what he would think of it now, after having become part of the European Union, would perhaps not be fit to print.
Erich Von Daniken’s Signs of the Gods and Malta’s Cart Ruts
Following is a summary of Daniken’s ideas. Not everything may be covered as there are a lot in this chapter. This is not a review of his book or trying to argue against his book and theories but there are a few updates with new information or a few questions for some of his ideas.
Cart ruts not for transportation or for carts or sleds
Daniken’s arguments or evidence that cart tracks were not made by vehicles or for transportation:
- Pairs of ruts are different from each other in the same site
- An individual pair of tracks change an their physical characteristics over distance
- The depths of the ruts can be over 70 cm and some get narrower (thinner) as the channel gets deeper. They are a V shape and can be very thin at the bottom, to thin for a strong wheel or sled pole that would be needed to transport large cargos
- Pairs of ruts separate, combine then separate again numerous times for seemingly no reason
- Ruts going up and down escarpment sides, curving, going off cliffs, over hills
- No animal hoof marks in the limestone between or beside the cart tracks if they were pulled by animals
- They were not formed as old roads or transportation system to help move the limestone megaliths with the construction of Malta’s stone temples because only a few cart tracks out of 1000’s go near a megalithic building
- The carts or sleds were not moved using wheels, forks of wood, sled poles or ballbearings.
One bit of modern scientific experiment that is interesting is that limestone seems to lose a lot of its strength when wet. There has been one experiment showing this but I am not sure if the results have been corroborated.
Another thing that Erich Von Daniken does not seem to take into account is that when limestone is wet it is very slippery, so the friction needed or met by carts being pulled could be much less in special circumstances. But with Malta being such a dry island, at the moment, this seems to be a natural thing to miss?
How old are Malta’s cart ruts and who created them?
Erich von Däniken investigates when and what race built the cart ruts and the megalithic buildings (Megalithic temples as they are called)?
- How old are they to be under our present sea level or in some cases much deeper with suggested cart ruts spotted and photographed on the sea bed.
- Were the Maltese tracks used as a massive calendar system? Why and how would people construct massive complexes built over such large areas when they could not observe them from the ground? Why go to that effort?
- Flint tools were not used to carve out the hundreds of miles of cart ruts or used in the quarrying and stone masonry of the megalithic blocks or used to carve out the deep but intricate underground structure and rooms of the Hypogeum. No flint is naturally found on the island or has been found on the island in association with the ancient buildings. So much flint tools would have to have been used that some evidence of them should have survived
- What is the age or the people who built or created the cart ruts system? Stone Age, Neolithic Age or Bronze Age? Greeks, Romans, Pheonicians? No evidence or any history of the peoples who were about when they were formed
- Metal allows were poured into the grooves? The post Ice Age date of when the cart ruts were likely to have been created, due to changes in the Mediterranean sea level, seems to disprove this as metal working was not around before then
- Cart ruts created by Saurians (alien race or actual ancient lizard animals?)? Not possible as the paired tracks run parallel in straight lines
If tools were used to create the grooves and giant stone structures could they have been destroyed when catastrophe struck the island? The population of Malta and Gozo, or at least those who built the megalithic structures and the cart ruts, seem to have totally disappeared with no trace. The island also shows Electric Universe geology signs of having been struck by catastrophes and Maltese mythology and folklore have tales of incredible storms and strange earth moving and blazing events – such as Mugluba and the salvatur qolla.
Not for irrigation, drainage or agriculture
Drainage system but rocky island with little top soil?
No water pipes or water towers and where did the water come from on an island with no year round rivers or streams?
Ruts used as agricultural production for like algae or silkworms but why are the ruts in such a haphazard manner?
Here Erich von Däniken could be argued against with one of his arguments against them for irrigation or food production. He suggests that there would be to much food produced for so small a population on Malta. But there had to be a decent sized population on Malta at the time to help build the megalithics? Unless Malta only had small construction crews that were sent to the island to build the complexes and there was not a large living population?
Malta’s Cart Ruts and megalithic structures are Signs of the Gods?
Erich Von Daniken’s in his book suggests:
The megalithic temples are stone testimony that the earliest inhabitants of Malta worshiped their gods zealously and spared no effort to show their deep admiration of the heavenly figures. As you know, it is my view that the ‘gods’ were not fictitious figures, not the products of unbridled imagination. At some time they were real and physically very active beings.
I ask myself whether ‘my’ gods chose Malta as their goal in prehistoric times, whether they achieved something there that made the Maltese labour to cut stone signs in the ground in memory of or as homage to the extraterrestrials
… To me, ruts, temples and Hypogeum are proof that ‘gods’ took a hand here.
I have to make a statement which will be superfluous to anyone who understands my theory, because I want to anticipate a remark that my critics will make as sure as eggs are eggs. I do not claim that ‘gods’ were at work here, laid out the ruts, erected the megalithic temples or built the Hypogeum. But I do speculate that ‘gods’ or their descendants were familiar with tools and dominated techniques which the Stone-Age men made use of. Obviously it is also possible that the early islanders worked zealously at the gods’ request to make the ruts, without knowing why they were doing it. Is there a connection between all these apparent contradictions? Can ‘gods’, men, ruts and temples all be brought under one hat?
… At the end of the Ice Age, who had the bodily strength and also the bird’s eye view needed to set up such gigantic complexes of thousands of menhirs? Giants!
Giants from early non-historical times are documented in traditions. Datings place them at the end of the last Ice Age and they would also have had the mental faculties and the strength needed to erect the menhirs. To what race did the giants belong and what was their origin? Mythologies and religious traditions claim that they were descendants of the gods.
Archaeologist David Trump, who has written the most authoritative books about Malta’s cart tracks, has commented on Erich Von Daniken’s cart ruts theories:
“Again, no Atlantis theories, as some have suggested. We know that in the last 3,000 years, the level of the seawater has risen. In fact right next to these ruts, there are a number of Bronze Age silo pits, some of which are now underwater.”
Could there have been any extra-terrestrial activity?
“I am obviously joking. Erich von Däniken, Swiss author of several books which make pseudoscientific claims about extraterrestrial influences on early human culture, theorised in his classic bestseller, Chariots of the Gods, published in 1968, that these ruts could only be made with alien influence.”
Aiming to solve the secret of our mysterious cart ruts