The Palaeolithic landscape remains elusive despite the progress made in palaeo-environmental analyses in recent decades. The shrinking of the cliff, reducing canopies, the shift in the course of rivers, erosion, and different ground cover means that the present landscape no longer resembles its Magdalenian predecessor.
However, studies suggest an open landscape and a cold climate, similar to Nordic countries, for the period that the Magdalenian rock shelters were occupied.
No trace of these earlier periods can be detected in the landscape, except through elements trapped in ground sediments, contrary to what makes landscape archaeology possible in relation to medieval times. The wall art is, in this sense, an extraordinary witness to the surrounding wildlife, some of whose subjects are more characteristic of a cold climate (such as the saiga antelope). Although the Magdalenians did not deliver an accurate picture of their environment, the species they included in their symbolic representations were clearly a part of it. These depictions provide a window, albeit truncated, onto their ecosystems, complementary to that provided by the animal remains found at habitation sites.
In addition to the decisions to depict the surrounding wildlife, the Magdalenians also sought to leave their mark on the landscape through the sculptures of these rock shelters, which were visible to all.