Reuben T. Durrett (1824-1913) was a lawyer, historian and bibliographer, who had a library of some 50,000 volumes. Among his many works was Traditions of The Earliest Visits of Foreigners to North America in which he devoted considerable space to the subject of Atlantis, which he viewed as a large Atlantic island. He suggested that instead of the belief that the inhabitants of this island peopled America, that we should consider the possibility that the original Americans peopled this Atlantic island!
Regarding the demise of Atlantis he suggests that “All of Plato’s island, however, might not have gone down. Indeed, it is possible that the Azores, the Madeiras, the Canaries, and even the British Islands, as parts of the ill-fated island, may have been left above water when the main island went down amid earthquakes and inundations.”
Jesse King of Norristown, PA, was the late 19th century author of The Mosaic Account of the Creation Affirmed, which was an attempt to reconcile Biblical history with the evidence of science. The author frequently refers to Atlantis, identifying it as a large island or even a landbridge between the Old and New Worlds. He expresses the opinion that remains of this landbridge are today “the Azores, Madeiras, and Teneriffe islands, about twenty in number.” He quotes, Plato and Euclid in support of his view and dates the end of Atlantis to around 1200 BC.
Charles Lyell (1797-1875) was British lawyer and the leading geologist of his day. He was a enthusiastic proponent of uniformitarianism as expressed in his best known book, Principles of Geology. Daniel Wilson quoted Lyell as concluding that “the entire evidence is adverse to the idea that the Canaries, the Madeiras, and the Azores, are surviving fragments of a vast submerged island, or continuous area of the adjacent continent.”*From the same book, R.E. Anderson quotes Lyell as confessing a temptation to ”accept the theory of an Atlantis island in the northern Atlantic” [1472.141].*
This view was contradicted by later geologists in the 19th and early 20th centuries, who even suggested landbridges across the Atlantic or a series of islands offering stepping stones between the Old World and the Americas. Today, supporters of an Atlantic Atlantis offer less dramatic theories suggesting, the Canaries, Azores or Madeiras are remnants of Plato’s Island.
Charles D. Pfund is a New York State correctional officer and the author of Antediluvian World: The End of the Myth, a rough draft version of which can read online(a). His website(b) begins with an examination of a 1482 map by the Italian cartographer Francesco Berlinghieri. A version of his map depicts the Fortunate Islands as a large island with mountains in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa. Pfund then compares this speculative map with underwater features in the region revealed by modern technology and percieves a match. He then proceeds to identify these features as Atlantis, which include the Canaries in the south stretching northward to include the Madeira archipelago.
Among the many other controversial claims made by Pfund is a 10,000 BC date for the existence of Atlantis, that Achilles was Atlas and that Atlanteans resettled Greece after the Flood
Pfund then unexpectedly includes a discussion on ancient ‘divination livers’(c) found in Mesopotamia and claims that some of them represent his Atlantis in the Atlantic! It is clear that the author’s source of inspiration is the work of Donnelly, whom he refers to as the ‘Great’ Ignatius Donnelly (although omitted from the index!).
I am not convinced. However, anyone wishing to investigate his ideas further must read his first book and hope that Pfund can get his second volume published. Overall, whatever one might think about Pfund’s theories, you cannot help admiring the level of research that went into the writing of this book. In my opinion the input of a professional editor would have improved the text as there is a lot of repetition, even unnecessarily repeating images. There is also an irritating overuse of bold text and underlining, reminiscent of tabloid newspapers.
The Cart-Ruts of Malta are one of the many remarkable archaeological features of the archipelago. Unfortunately, the local authorities have not done all they could to ensure their preservation. Cart-ruts are also found in other countries but in nothing like the numbers found on Malta.
An article written in 1904(h) describes a visit to the Madeiras where the writer travelled on a sled drawn by oxen, while Alexander Braghine describes how Paul le Cour visited the Azores and noted that the natives there used ‘sledges’ rather than wheeled vehicles and greased the runners to assist movement, similar to the practice on the Madeiras. A more recent paper(s) by Félix Rodrigues of Azores University discusses in detail cartruts found on Terceira Island in the Azores.*Other papers(w)(x) on the Acacemia.edu website discuss ‘ruts’ on Lanzarote in the Canaries.*
Dr. David Trump (1931-2016) who has done much to advance Maltese archaeology, published a booklet on the cart-ruts in 2008. Trump nicknamed the complex collection of ruts at Misrah Ghar il-Kbir “Clapham Junction” after the London railway station, where several railway services interchange. A 1998 paper(d) by Joseph Magro Conti and Paul C. Saliba focused on “Clapham Junction” and concluded that the ruts had a clear connection with the transportation of material from adjacent quarries.
A connection between the cart-ruts and Atlantis has been suggested by Anton Mifsud and adopted by the late Axel Hausmann, who both claim that the ruts were the irrigation channels referred to by Plato (Critias 118c-e).
Another prominent archaeologist, Claudia Sagona, has also suggested(f)(j) that the ruts were used for irrigation, although she has not associated them with Plato’s text. While this linkage fits nicely with the theory of Atlantis having been in the region of Malta, it does not stand up to close examination.
First of all the cart-ruts follow the natural undulations of the Maltese landscape and so to function as irrigation channels would require water to flow uphill for parts of its journey, Trump has mentioned how some of the ruts can be seen sloping as much as 45°.
Secondly, the fact that the ruts are always found in pairs would suggest a degree of unnecessary and wasteful duplication found in no other irrigation system in the world. Because; if the ruts were intended to carry water, for the same labour they could have been cut as a single channel at twice the depth cutting losses through evaporation by half.
As well as that, the ground between each pair of tracks could provide an extra acre of arable land for every two miles of length. Furthermore, the multiplicity of tracks at the ‘Clapham Junction’ site is incompatible with an irrigation system.
All of which is compounded by the absence of controlling sluicegates anywhere at the remaining 100+ sites, and emphasised by Trump’s observation that “no association of ruts with water sources has been demonstrated.”[870.268]
Compounding all that is the fact that no supporter of the cart ruts as Plato’s irrigation channels has attempted to explain how the dimensions of the ruts can be measured in inches while Plato describes canals measured in feet – tens of feet!
Joseph S. Ellul in his book Malta’s Prediluvian Culture  expressed some controversial unconventional views(t) regarding the cart-ruts, including his assertion that the ruts were created by tools or machinery and were formed during the Stone Age before the biblical Deluge!
By way of comic relief, I thought I should include one theory regarding an explanation(c) for the ruts from Laura Knight-Jadczyk, a noted conspiracy theorist, which I quote in full: “Do I have an idea to propose? Of course I do. I wouldn’t be writing about it if I didn’t. I would like to suggest that these “ruts” look an awful lot like places where lightning has struck, and the electricity has blasted away the dirt and rock as it shoots along some sort of natural earth power grid conductor. The only difference is that the cart ruts are not random. That suggests that there was something present in the ground laid out in a definite grid, which acted as a conductor. Were the cart ruts some sort of networked energy conduction system? Could some sort of element have been placed in the ground by an ancient civilization; something that that conducted power to their homes the way our vulgar power poles and lines criss-cross the landscape? And then, at some point in time, was the earth hit by such a surge of energy from some unknown source that these power “lines” melted the rock in which they were “strung?” Perhaps a surge of some kind of cosmic energy source? Maybe even the Electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear explosion? Maybe it was neither of these, but merely a massive overheating of the surface of the earth so that the conduction element and its insulating covering melted and was swept away?”
One of the more bizarre suggestions has been proposed by Markus Tutsch on the German EFODON website, that the parallel ruts were used in some way to distribute electrical power(q)!!!
Another comical suggestion is offered by Dr. Cornelius Niels Kopf who has proposed that “The Bronze Age traces on Malta and Gozo and many other parts of the then populated world, known as cart ruts, were sports facilities, and the area designated as ‘Clapham Junction’ was apparently the ‘stadium’ of Malta.” (r)
In 2010, the most comprehensive work on the ruts was published by Gordon E. Weston. Weston now has a website(g) where he discusses the ‘ruts’ further and provides additional links. Weston also published Clapham Junction: 3000 Years of Maltese Heritage, in 2015 .
There are also a number of websites devoted to the investigation of these enigmatic features(a). One of them(m) offers a fine collection of images, including the one above, as well as a discussion on the origin, use and questions raised by the Maltese cart ruts.
A study of the ruts by geomorphologists published in Antiquity is a valuable addition to the literature on the subject(b).
Uwe Topper has written an extensive paper on cart-ruts around the Mediterranean and beyond(i). He controversially theorised that that the ruts were created when the limestone on which they were cut was ‘softer’!!!
A short April 2015 video clip(l) demonstrates how even a 20kg quarter-scale slidecar, can with one pass cut a 1mm groove into the soft Maltese limestone, near Sliema. A full scale slidecar would be carrying 320 Kg.
Amateur archaeologists, Ronnie Gallagher and Abbas Islamov, have highlighted the existence of cart-ruts in the Gobustan peninsula of Azerbijan(e), while André Kramer has written an article on the cart-ruts of Mallorca(k).
*Evidence exists for cart ruts in other countries in Europe, such as Switzerland and much further afield including South America(u). The same site makes two interesting points, (1) since the earliest carts probably lacked brakes, the repeated use of the ruts gave some small degree of control and (2) without any obvious passing points the ruts seem to indicate that they were limited to one-way traffic.*
In 2015, Russian geologist Alexander Koltypin drew much media attention(o) when he claimed that comparable tracks in the Phrygian Valley of Turkey were dated to 14 million years ago and were created by an unknown civilisation. He also implied that the cart ruts of Malta had similar origin! However a quick look at his website(p) revealed him to have travelled well beyond the lunatic fringe.
I find it interesting that much more investigation of the Maltese cart ruts has been carried out by foreigners than by natives of the islands. A recent example is the inventory of ruts recently published by Monika I. Trinkler, a Swiss photographer. She has listed 652 pairs on Malta and 42 on Gozo. Her interested in the Maltese ruts has now expanded into the identification of ruts throughout Central Europe.(v)
(f) Oxford Journal of Archaeology (Vol.23, Issue 1, p.45-60)
(g) http://cartrutanswers.com/index.html (offline 15/07/14)
(i) http://www.ilya.it/chrono/pages/gleisedt.htm (german)
Baron Jean Baptise Geneviëve Marcellin Bory de Saint Vincent (1778-1846) was a Frenchman with a lifelong fascination with botany and proud owner of a very wide business card. He joined the army where he developed an interest in cartography. His career brought him to the Canaries and other islands of the eastern Atlantic, where his interest in the Guanches prompted him, over two hundred years ago, to write an illustrated work in which he primarily built on the Atlantean references of Diodorus. He clearly identifies the Guanches of the Canary Islands with the Atlanteans and describes the invasion of North Africa by the Atlanteans and Amazons after the submergence of their homeland. Apart from the evidence of Diodorus he has based his conclusions on geological observations, which were that Atlantis had been a large island continent that existed in the Atlantic. He claimed that volcanic activity destroyed most of this island forcing the Atlanteans to invade Europe and eventually to war with the Athenians. Bory believed that the Canaries, Madeiras and Azores are all that are left of this once great continent!
However, in a letter dated 15/11/1822, that recently went on sale, he confessed that his earlier theories were wrong(a).
Isles of the Blest is a term first mentioned by Hesiod circa 700 BC and later in the 5th century BC, a hundred years before Plato, in one of the few fragments we have of a work called Atlantias by Hellanicus of Lesbos. The text relates “Poseidon mated with Celaeno, and their son Lycus was settled by his father in the Isles of the Blest and made immortal.”
Paul Dunbavin has pointed out that Pindar the Greek poet again writing in the 5th century BC also refers to the Island of the Blest in terms that are indistinguishable from his description of the home of the Hyperboreans. Dunbavin has concluded further that Island of the Blest and the Elysian Fields or Elysium are the same place. Andrew Collins supports this idea and adds the possibility that they may also identical with the Fortunate Isles.