|Location:||Duruitoarea village, near Costești city, district Riscani. (47°52′10″N, 27°15′36″E)|
|Open:||no restrictions. |
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|1958||discovered by archaeologist Nicolae Chetraru.|
|08-JAN-1975||taken under the protection of the state by the Decision of the Soviet Ministry of Ministers of the RSSM.|
|25-FEB-1998||protection status reconfirmed by Law no. 1538.|
|2004||mammoth fossils discovered in the gorge.|
Peștera Duruitoarea (Duruitoarea cave) is named after the nearby village. This small cave is located in a karst area with many limestone hills, and two protected Nature Monuments, the Duruitoarea gorge and the Proscureni hill and Duruitoarea hill. The two hills are actually a single block of sarmatian limestone, which was displaced by landslides. It is karstified and was cut into two pieces by the Duruitoarea vecha (Duruitoarea gorge). The area is known for those limestone hills, which are typically rounded and are called Toltrele Prutului (Prut turtles).
In the gorge lies the Peștera Duruitoarea, a small cave which was excavated and produced Paleolithic flint tools and animal bones. They are dated to be some 70.000 years old. Also wheat seeds and sunflower seeds were discovered. The cave was completely excavated between its discovery in 1958 and the mid-1970s.
There are three levels of habitation in the cave. The oldest is a 20 to 30cm thick layer of Acheulean age, the culture is locally called Tayak culture. It contains multiple animal bones, with the predominance of large mammals like horse and bison. This level is estimated to be 160-100.000 years old and considered to be the oldest paleolithic site in the Republic of Moldova. The next level contained flint and bone artifacts and the fossilized and fragmented skeletal remains of mammals, mostly cave bear and hyena, and birds. The uppermost level contained flint, horn and bone objects, fingerprints of two fire glasses. Overwhelming is the amount of animal bones, about 10,000 pieces of 54 species of mammals and 29 species of birds. It is of Gravetian age, about 20-18.000 years old. The human jawbone which was discovered is of modern man (Homo sapiens).
The cave is located in the Duruitoarea gorge. In the gorge mammoth bones were discovered in 2004. It can be reached in a short walk from the southern end of the town Duruitoarea. Just follow the gorge to the southeast. The cave is rather small but located in the nice little gorge, and the surrounding hills offer a nice view across the town and the nearby river and dammed lake. The limestone area and the cave are protected as Natural Monuments but there is neither a restriction for a visit nor any kind of development.