Without going so far as to invoke a more settled way of life, the Magdalenian period is characterised by greater emphasis on longer-term habitation, nomadism alternating with long-term occupations that may have been repeated from one year to the next.
There were different types of installations. The Magdalenians regularly took advantage of natural shelters, moving into rock shelters and well-exposed cave mouths. All they needed to do was close off the habitat with light structures and hides – possibly using loops pierced in the walls. In contrast, deep cave habitats are extremely rare.
The Magdalenian also lived in outdoor encampments. The sites of Pincevent and Étiolles in the Greater Paris basin are made up of small circular residential structures (tents or huts) that were covered with skins held to the ground by stones. Brace-holes for a lightweight frame, probably made of wood, have been found in Gönnersdorf, Germany.
Habitats were organised, and the ground may have been either paved or tiled. Space was divided into specific activity zones. In Pincevent and Étiolles, the centre of the site was taken up by a hearth, around which spatially-circumscribed activities took place (flint knapping, manufacturing of equipment from bone, weapon repair). Off to one side was the sleeping area, devoid of any vestiges.
In the Gartempe Valley, not far from Roc-aux-Sorciers, the Taillis des Coteaux site provides evidence of a Middle Magdalenian occupation. These sites reflect the movement phases of groups during that era.