> Their hypothesis is that the limestone softens
> when it gets wet so that carts using the exact
> same path will eventually cut into the bedrock
> leaving those tracks. And when the track gets too
> deep to continue using, another path is chosen,
> which itself eventually gets worn into a track,
Yes that is a popular hypothesis, but it only works if you sort of squint at it while it's at the edge of your peripheral vision and you don't look too long (imo).
As soon as I start thinking about that hypothesis, the first question I have is, if the passage of the carts can dig ruts in limestone up to three feet deep, where are the tracks of the beasts of burden being used to pull the carts? I mentioned this in my initial post, and Jon asked it a few replies back. It is a good question; the answer is that there are no corresponding animal tracks between the ruts. Sometimes there are irregularities between a given set of ruts that might be tracks of some kind, however, these tracks(if that is what these irregularities are) are so heavily degraded that it is impossible to tell what they are. And they only appear in short stretches between a given set of ruts.
Next question, how did large-wheeled fixed-axle carts actually move along these ruts? They are too deep, too narrow. Going into a turn would break the wheels and probably snap the axle. At the very least, the cart would get jammed and be unable to move
Next question, what about the ruts that are 10-12 inches across each rut? They are too uniform to be anything but ruts made by wheels that are in fact close to the width indicated by the ruts. AFAIK wheels stayed rail-thin until the advent of inflated tires. The "limestone softened by rain" hypothesis doesn't really work if wheels have to somehow cut channels much wider than they are, with a relatively stable and uniform cross-section.
Next question, what about the ruts in rock other than limestone?
Next question, what about ruts that go right over cliff edges, or down beneath sea level? Remember that on Malta at least, human occupation is not supposed to begin until the Neolithic period, long after any major sea level rises have taken place. And how long exactly does it take, how many passes would it require, for the wooden wheels of a cart to cut deeply into stone? A hundred thousand passes? A million? It makes me suspicious that this idea is tossed out there as a tentative hypothesis, but no one seems keen to actually test it, you know, by setting up something fairly simple so that wooden cart wheels with heavy loads on them roll back and forth across limestone kept wet with a sprinkler or something to see if we can actually produce a rut this way. Instead, what we see is that the tentative hypothesis, after being unchallenged for a certain amount of time, begins to be referred to as fact.
I live on a limestone plateau. No wooden wheel ever cut into any limestone, if you ask me :)
P. S. I am arguing against the hypothesis, not Origyptian.