Stratigraphic data and radiocarbon dating indicate that Gönnersdorf and Andernach were occupied by the Magdalenians during the cold and dry period which preceded the significant warming that took place in the Tardiglacial, in around 12,700 BCE. In Thuringia, the Magdalenian consisted of an initial phase prior to this warming and a second phase during the first centuries of the warming climate. Like at Étiolles, the Magdalenians’ living conditions changed with time.

A steppe landscape

On the plains, the German landscape during the cold period must have been very similar to that of the Paris Basin, with vast expanses of steppes. There were also the same types of animals: reindeer, horses, bison, saiga antelopes, Arctic foxes and ptarmigans. The tusks and teeth, and, more rarely, bones, of mammoths and the woolly rhinoceros have also been found, whose direct dating always indicates that they are at least one millennium older than the Magdalenian occupation. They were therefore collected in the form of fossilised bones.

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