Indeed the stone balls friction against transported slabs would create unwanted deep traces.
Of course they would generate a minimum of drag friction and their rotation would help any supporting structure to move easily forward, but as with rollers, it would be necessary to be replace them quickly in front of the moving structure all along the way. That may cause handling and control difficulties in slopes, mainly downwards.
And malta is not that flat.
Many of those stone balls are visible in Tarxien and I do believe they were used to move stones at temples construction sites, to help set them up.
Perhaps they may have been used in the beginning of tracks creation process to generate the initial shape after a first carving, if it was the case, but not afterwards, I think.
Then, when tracks are initiated, classical cart could be used, even in very remote times.
Then two questions raise:
1-If linked with temples times(Obvious large consumer of heavy stone slabs), temples that are very old and maybe much older than mainstream thinks, the hypothetized cart was running on full wooden wheels without metal rims perhaps. How could wood wear limestone?
2-Metal rims came with bronze age, and the fact that ruts run underwater or off cliffs prove they are very, very old. So did metal rim that could explain the depth of many ruts come too late in the frame?
In their document "The cart ruts of Malta: an applied geomorphology approach",Derek Mottershead, Alastair Pearson & Martin Schaefer exposed scientific measurements that show how wood can wear out limestone. Think also how wood can be hardened with fire, and that cart wooden wheels can be replaced in a good maintenance process.
The cart ruts of Malta: an applied geomorphology approach
Then, we may infer that quarries remained in usage during bronze age, punic, greek and roman eras, allowing usage of metal rimmed wheels which deepened the tracks to a limit.
The presence of punic tombs cut right across in the way of cart ruts, so interrupting them, shows that ruts existed before maybe Phoenicians.
The fact that they run underwater and off cliffs shows that they preceeded the catastrophes in the Mediterranean, maybe the same which damaged the temples, or even before. We are now dealing with several thousand of years.
Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 17-Aug-19 20:04 by Mike D.