The shelly fauna of the lowest part of the Sælabonn Formation in the Hadeland district of the Oslo Region provides a rare insight into the shallow-water biota of the earliest Silurian and hence the start of biotic recovery after the end Ordovician extinction event. It is dominated by the brachiopods Dalmanella cf. pectinoides Bergström, Coolinia cf. columbana (Reed), Leptaena cf. haverfordensis Bancroft and Zygospiraella scotica (Salter) together with the trilobite Acernaspis elliptifrons (Esmark). The first three species in this unique association belong to eurytopic Ordovician survivor genera which were also present in the underlying unit in Hadeland and continued to thrive during the Silurian. Significantly, Zygospiraella and Acernaspis have no unequivocal Ordovician record but diversified rapidly and became common during the early Silurian (Rhuddanian) in many parts of the world. Moreover, Acernaspis and Zygospiraella were highly eurytopic, pioneer taxa that were among the first elements of the Rhuddanian shelly fauna to appear in many parts of the world especially around the margins of the remnant Iapetus Ocean, following the drowning of areas previously emergent during the late Ordovician sea-level lowstand. The Hadeland fauna provides evidence of a previously undocumented route (among several) by which life ultimately returned to the global diversity plateau established in the mid-Ordovician.