View Full Version : Overview of the Magdalenian Cultures

Sunday, December 11th, 2005, 03:52 PM
ABSOLUTE TIME PERIOD: 18,000▒11,000 B.P.

RELATIVE TIME PERIOD: Last tradition of the European Upper Paleolithic, follows the Solutrean tradition, precedes the Mesolithic traditions of Europe.

LOCATION: Western Europe, from northern Spain to Poland, but concentrated in France, Spain, Belgium, and Germany.

DIAGNOSTIC MATERIAL ATTRIBUTES: A distinctive set of typologically de«ned tools, based on prepared core blade production, including numerous blacked bladelets, dihedral burins, burins on truncations, end-scrapers on blades, perc╦ oirs, and becs. An elaborate bone tool technology, including beveled sagaie bone points, single- and double-row barbed harpoons, and eyed needles. Production of mobiliary art on utilitarian and nonutilitarian objects, including animal, human, and geometricmotifs, and of parietal art, including many of the celebrated painted caves of Southwestern France.



Climate. The Magdalenian occurred during the «nal phases of the Pleistocene, following the Glacial Maximum about 18,000 B.P. Dynamic oscillations of glacial advance and retreat resulted in major changes during the Magdalenian period, although the climate can be characterized as predominantly cool to cold. Precipitation was generally very low, as much of the world's water was locked up in the continental glaciers. It must be realized that the climatic periods listed below are
considered time-transgressive, that is, the actual dates of climatic and environmental changes vary from region to region, according to location and proximity to the major glacial phenomena.

Warming events and interstadials were felt «rst in the southern regions and only later in the northern regions. This is further complicated during the Magdalenian by the notorious ``radiocarbon plateau,'' which yields equivalent dates for a couple of thousand years (c. 13,000▒11,000 B.P.) at the end of the Magdalenian period, when signi«cant climatic oscillations (stadials and interstadials) were occurring. In general, the Lascaux interstadial, about 17,000 B.P., marks the beginning of the Tardiglacial, when the earliest Magdalenians appeared in the Pe┬rigord region