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Underwater cart ruts?! Discover what mystery lurks underwater in Malta
Check out mysterious cart ruts and temples

Melanie Drury

If the allure of Malta’s crystal Mediterranean waters were not enough. If the beauty of the Mediterranean marine life, such as barracuda, octopus, moray eels, sting rays, turtles, dolphins and sharks, were not enough. If exploring Malta's caves, tunnels, sinkholes and arches were not enough. If the adventure playground of World War II bombers, patrol boats, ferry boats and oil tankers were not enough, you could always discover the mystery of Malta’s underwater cart ruts and temples.

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With so many cart ruts and temple sites around the Maltese Islands, it would be almost surprising if, through the passage of time, some had not been swallowed up by earthquakes and rising sea-levels. Supporting this idea, several cart ruts run off cliffs or the coast straight into the sea to an unknown destination.

Underwater cart ruts in Malta

There are 150 sites with cart ruts across the Maltese Islands. The parallel grooves in the ground always run in pairs and are far older than any of the megalithic buildings. Nobody knows exactly what they were, where they were going and why. Some run off sheer cliffs, others into the sea. Some of Malta’s mysterious cart ruts can be seen in shallow waters, now submerged, such as the ones in St George’s Bay, Birzebbuga. Submerged cart ruts have also been reported deeper in the sea in Pembroke, St Julians.

Underwater cart ruts

The presence of cart ruts on the ground is strange enough; that they lie underwater is stranger still. This suggests that they haven't always been there. Either sea levels were much lower or the land has literally sunk below the surface as a result of earthquakes. If the former were true, that they lie at a depth of 40 meters suggests that the cart ruts are even older than archaeologists speculate. The sea level was much lower at the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago and the Mediterranean was completely dry around 5 million years ago but that doesn't help us guess who made them and why! 

Underwater temples in Malta

Hubert Zeitlmair presented a short documentary suggesting that a submerged Megalithic structure or Temple - Gebel Gol-Bahar - lies about three kilometres off the coast of Malta. But, for now, the rumors remain just rumors. It would be interesting to discover whether the footage is evidence of a submerged man-made structure that has been swallowed by nature: eroded, overgrown, transformed, almost unrecognisable. Or if these are naturally occurring forms? Until the site is properly investigated, we can only guess.

If not Megalithic, Quintinus or Frenchman Jean Quintin (1500-1561), chaplain of the French Knights and auditor of the Grand Master, had identified the Temple of Juno as being located “somewhere between Birgu and the 'CasteIlum' and extending out into the sea” of the Grand Harbour. Now that should be easy to check out. 

Have you ever come across anything unusual, strange or fascinating on the Maltese seabed? Share your experiences.

16th August 2020


Melanie Drury
Written by
Melanie Drury
Melanie was born and raised in Malta and has spent a large chunk of her life travelling solo around the world. Back on the island with a new outlook, she realised just how much wealth her little island home possesses.

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