We know very little about the social organization of the Magdalenian populations. We have no ethnographic sources, which are vital for dealing with this issue in populations that have no writing. Moreover, archaeological evidence on which to base an approach is incomplete, due to the fact that certain materials decay more quickly than others. However, a few elements shed light on certain aspects of social life 15,000 years ago.
At the Pincevent and Étiolles sites in the Parisian basin, the small tent sizes suggest that the basic social unit was the nuclear family. However, we do not know how many nuclear families made up a group, nor, above all, the type of connections (clan? tribal?) that held them together.
Some evidence points to the existence of artisans or specialised individuals, including the production of large flint blades, certain portable art and some wall art. Their technical and/or iconographic qualities could not have been available to all, and would have required acquisition of a complex set of skills.
Finally, the circulation, sometimes across hundreds of miles, of materials (rocks and shells), objects and concepts (artistic techniques) testifies to numerous and extensive contacts between groups. The form that these exchanges took must have been based on various socio-economic realities such as trade, gifts, exogamy, etc.