It is suggested that the GRIP Greenland ice-core should constitute the stratotype for the Last Termination. Based on the oxygen isotope signal in that core, a new event stratigraphy spanning the time interval from ca. 22.0 to 11.5 k GRIP yr BP (ca. 19.0–10.0 k 14C yr BP) is proposed for the North Atlantic region. This covers the period from the Last Glacial Maximum, through Termination 1 of the deep-ocean record, to the Pleistocene–Holocene boundary, and encompasses the Last Glacial Late-glacial of the traditional northwest European stratigraphy. The isotopic record for this period is divided into two stadial episodes, Greenland Stadials 1 (GS-1) and 2 (GS-2), and two interstadial events, Greenland Interstadials 1 (GI-1) and2 (GI-2). In addition, GI-1 and GS-2 are further subdivided into shorter episodes. The event stratigraphy is equally applicable to ice-core, marine and terrestrial records and is considered to be a more appropriate classificatory scheme than the terrestrially based radiocarbon-dated chronostratigraphy that has been used hitherto. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.