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Stone-tool industry and artistic tradition of Upper Paleolithic Europe. It was named after the type site, La Madeleine in southwestern France. The Magdalenians lived some 11,000–17,000 years ago, at a time when reindeer, wild horses, and bison formed large herds. They appear to have lived a semi-settled life surrounded by abundant food. They killed animals with spears, snares, and traps and lived in caves, rock shelters, and tents. Magdalenian stone tools include blades, burins (chisel-like tools), scrapers, borers, and projectile points. Their bone toolsoften engraved with animal imagesinclude adzes, hammers, spearheads, harpoons, and eyed needles. Cave art in the early period is characterized by coarse black drawings, while that of the later period includes beautifully rendered realistic figures in polychrome, such as those at Altamira, Spain. Magdalenian culture disappeared as the climate warmed at the end of the fourth (Würm) glacial period (c. 10,000 BC) and herd animals became scarce.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Magdalenian culture, visit Britannica.com.
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