'Ancient' vs. 'Modern' Ruts 

Two types of rut profiles may be distinguished in the study of rock surface trails.  'Modern' ruts have features which are explained by the passage of a cart, in contrast with the 'ancient' ruts which have details, that are not convincingly explained by the various hypothesis that have been put forward on the subject.

It is the enigmatic nature of the features of the later ruts which has resulted in the discussion of the 'cart-rut' phenomenon. The individual characteristics of both trails are here discussed and compared.
'Ancient' Rutat Ta' Cenc
1. Area between ruts 
2. Inter-rut variability 
3. Outer edge of rut 
4. Rut profile
'Modern' rut at Agrigento
 'Ancient' Rut                                                                                                                'Modern' Rut

Feature 1- Area between the ruts
The area lying between the rut pair in the 'modern' ruts is often lower than the surrounding terrain (as shown) or else marked by grooves or hollows with an axis perpendicular to the ruts and attributed to the passage of the person or animal pulling/pushing the vehicle.

In contrast the terrain between the ruts in the 'ancient' examples appears not effected by the presence of the ruts. This raises a question on what and how was the vehicle on the ruts moved.

 Feature 2- Inter-rut variability

'Ancient' ruts are also characterized by a variable inter-rut distance attributed to wobbling of the part of the vehicle touching the ground. This explanation, however, provides a limitation to the maximum load that such proposed vehicle would carry.

"Modern' ruts maintain a constant distance between the trails.

Feature 3 - Outer edge of Rut

The outer edge of 'ancient' ruts may exhibit a splaying outwards, a feature which has until now escaped an explanation.  This is not present in the 'modern' ruts.

 Feature 4 - Rut profile

The profile of 'ancient' ruts is 'V' shaped in contrast with 'modern' ruts which have a 'U' shaped profile.

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