In addition to food, all of the materials used by Palaeolithic peoples were taken from the wild, either for fashioning both utilitarian and symbolic objects (rocks, antlers, bones, shells, hides), or for building habitats (wood, animal skins). In the Magdalenian era, collection of raw materials was accompanied by expanded mobility in the search for quality materials.

For rocks (including flint), there is evidence of stockpiling of raw materials or pre-shaped pieces from which blades and bladelets were created. In France, flint from the Périgord and Cher were particularly sought-after. They are regularly unearthed hundreds of kilometres from their source.

In the symbolic realm, the same is true for shells, whose role in body ornament took an unprecedented surge. The Magdalenians sought out and used shells from the Atlantic and Mediterranean shorelines. They also visited very specific fossil deposits (Gironde, Touraine), whose contents have been found throughout the western half of France.

These far-flung sourcings were either the result of direct acquisitions through physical displacement or of gradual trading. At what distance does trade become more likely than direct acquisition? How can one estimate the number of intermediaries?