Discoveries in Duruitoarea Veche: Ancient Cave, Mammoth Traces, and Enchanting Gorge

Not far from the town of Costești, flows the Duruitoarea River, a tributary of the Ciugur River, which has carved a deep gorge in the hills. Its steep limestone slopes are marked by caves adorned with rocks that have the most unusual shapes. The Old Duruitoarea Cave is known as an ancient settlement from the Stone Age. It consists of three chambers with a total length of 49 meters and a width of 5-9 meters.

As a result of archaeological excavations, petrifications from the Ice Age and remains of an ancient civilization were discovered here, making it famous worldwide. It should be mentioned that the nature, landscape of these places, and the richness of historical and architectural monuments even astonish our imagination.

The chain of limestone hills in this region, near the Costești-Stânca reservoir, gives the impression that everything here has remained unchanged since time immemorial.

Internationally renowned cave

The cave near the village of Duruitoarea Veche is a former human settlement from the Lower Paleolithic period. The fact that it served as a natural shelter for prehistoric humans has brought international fame to the cave.

The cave in Duruitoarea Veche is carved into the rock above the village at a height of 33 meters, and the three chambers have a total length of 49 meters. In this naturally formed cavern, remains of animals, fragments of tools, and traces of early humans from around 250-300 thousand years ago have been discovered. Excavations conducted by archaeologists in the second half of the last century revealed five archaeological layers, four of which contained evidence of human activity.

Among the several hundred objects found here are remains of bison, rhinoceros, or noble deer bones, bone and stone weapons, piercing objects, flint tools, amulets and ornaments, spearheads, pendants made of mammoth ivory and reindeer teeth, as well as a fragment of a human jaw with six molars.

Although the Duruitoarea Veche cave is one of the earliest human settlements in our area, it is still well-preserved today, and the only inhabitants are a few birds that have made their nests here.

The Gorge of “Jurassic Park”

A few minutes’ walk to the left of the cave, a steep slope leads to a gorge resembling the scenery from the science-fiction film “Jurassic Park.” From somewhere below, the murmuring of a small river can be heard, which gave these places their name – Duruitoarea.

The rocks with their bizarre shapes that create the gorge remind us that our ancestors used to go hunting in these places hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Mammoth Traces

Eight years ago, near the Duruitoarea Veche cave, a local resident accidentally discovered the jawbone of a female mammoth. Eugen Tomuz was astonished to see a fragment of a skeleton of such size on the bank of a small stream, and he informed his family members about the finding. After some time, the scientific researcher Teodor Obadă, along with several students, conducted excavations and discovered other fragments of the mammoth’s skeleton, including an ivory tusk measuring 2 meters and 75 centimeters in length. The excavations were halted due to a lack of funds. It is believed that the mammoth lived 60-100 thousand years ago, and the found bones were taken to the high school museum in Costești.


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