The Novaya Zemlya fold-and-thrust-belt is the northern continuation of the late Palaeozoic Uralide Orogen. Little is known about its deeper structure and the basement history of the adjacent Barents and Kara shelves. Based on geological evidence and detrital zircon analysis of 28 samples from the northeastern and stratigraphically deepest part of the archipelago, we demonstrate that Cambro-Ordovician turbidite-dominated deposition was almost exclusively sourced from rocks consolidated during the Timanian orogeny (Timanian basement). A profound change in provenance occurred near the end of the Ordovician. Over 90% of the zircons from Silurian and about 80% from Devonian strata have ages characteristic of the Sveconorwegian Orogen, implying uplift of these rocks in the vicinity of Novaya Zemlya. The presence of Sveconorwegian and Grenvillian rocks in the high Arctic suggests revision of recent reconstructions of the Rodinia supercontinent, its break-up and subsequent Caledonian orogeny.