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Marine sediments are an important repository of information on climatic change, and retrieving sediment sequences from climate-sensitive areas is an important aspect of paleoclimate research. In the spring of 1995, over 7000 m of sediments that reach back more than 5 million years to the Miocene/Pliocene boundary were recovered in the Mediterranean by the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Legs 160 and 161. Because the Mediterranean is a semi-enclosed, land-locked basin with restricted, open-ocean water exchange, the composition of these sediments is especially sensitive to climate change, and environmental signals are preserved in great detail.