The chronostratigraphy of a long, onshore Early–Middle Pleistocene marine sedimentary sequence on the south-east part of Zakynthos island, Greece, is presented. Correlation of the succession with the isotope record of Ocean Drilling Program Site 963 reveals the combined influence of tectonics and eustacy in this area. The sequence is divided into three formations by two main unconformities that apparently relate to sea-level lowstands associated with two major northern hemisphere glaciations, those of marine isotope stages (MIS) 22 and 12. The Zakynthos sequence in many ways is comparable with the Italian Valle di Manche section. Magnetostratigraphic and rock magnetic analyses, supported by biostratigraphy, document the position of the Matuyama/Brunhes Chron boundary (0.77 Ma), the top and base of the Jaramillo Subchron (0.99–1.07 Ma), the Cobb Mountain Subchron (1.173–1.185 Ma) and the top of the Olduvai Subchron (1.78 Ma). The underlying strata are constrained exclusively by detailed nannofossil biostratigraphy extending at least to the lowermost Pleistocene at around 2.54 Ma and therefore certainly incorporating the base of the Olduvai Subchron (1.95 Ma) and possibly the Gauss/Matuyama Chron boundary (2.58 Ma). In addition, a remarkable increase in sedimentation rate (from 3.2 and 28 cm ka−1 to 167 cm ka−1) and hence resolution above the Matuyama/Brunhes boundary (Middle Pleistocene) reveals one short-lived magnetic excursion, possibly 17a (0.66 Ma), within the normal polarity Brunhes Chron. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.