Shelter of L’Espluga

The Shelter of L’Espluga is a long and non that deep cave in limestone rock, thus a shelter rather than a cave or Espluga (= cave in Catalan), in the municipality of Sant Quirze Safaja, in the district of Moianès. The Shelter of L’Espluga translates the name to the stream of L’Espluga that jumps over the shelter in rainy seasons.

One path beginning on the BV-1341 road near the school and the farmhouse Can Torrents and going up by the left slope of the stream used to get the shelter in about 500 meters. However, nowadays this path is incomprehensibly blocked. The alternative route goes from the centre of Sant Quirze Safaja by the path of La Rovireta that crosses the stream just above the shelter. To reach the level of the shelter and to enter it, you must turn right 300 meters away from the last house in Sant Quirze and follow the trail that goes parallel at a lower altitude than the wide path in about 600 metres to reach the Shelter of L’Espluga.

The Shelter of L’Espluga measures about 100 meters in length by 15 meters in average depth. Its height is twice, three or four times that of an adult, so it is comfortable to walk inside. A stretch of the floor is reinforced by a wall made of stones. Water springs in the inside and the well maidenhairs (Adiantum capillus-veneris) hang from the nearby wall.

This large shelter, facing south and having water, looks ideal place for humans in prehistoric times. Indeed, the archaeological excavations carried out in the Shelter of L’Espluga confirm its human occupation, apparently since around the year 30.000 BC, although, among the remains found, those that have a more conclusive dating are in the years 9.000-10.000 BC., in the Epipaleolithic period.

[photos Montserrat Porta and Jordi Badia]