The artists were members of the Magdalenian culture, hunter gatherers who lived in Europe between about 23,000 and 14,000 years ago. The Magdalenians, living near the close of the last Ice Age in a cold but gradually improving climate, produced a wide range of notable art, from decorated tools to engraved bones and celebrated cave paintings. Their works include those at Lascaux, France, which previous researchers have suggested were ‘animated’ by their own interplay with firelight. They may have also made rudimentary musical instruments. In addition to the plaquettes, the rockshelter yielded stone points and tools and some notable works of art including the famed Swimming Reindeer—a 13,000 year-old mammoth-tusk sculpture depicting two reindeer, nose to tail, that may have been made for purely artistic reasons.
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