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Fossiliferous Early Cambrian strata from central Europe are known from two fragmentary preserved units situated in eastern Germany: the Görlitz syncline and the Torgau-Doberlug syncline. The fossil assemblages from both regions and their geological framework are presented. The taxonomic content, the internal structure, and the biostratigraphic positions of the containing assemblages are quite different. Trilobites and other shelly fossils (from Görlitz syncline) and archaeocyathans (from Torgau-Doberlug syncline) show strong relationships to equivalent faunas in Morocco, Spain, and France. Further, there are some indications for relationships to the Far East. The German faunas indicate very active faunal exchange within the peri-Gondwanan realm and probably over longer distances along the Gondwana margin, too. Together with the nearly shelf-wide consistent sedimentary facies patterns, consequently, they contradict the model of local and isolated basins for the areas of deposition. The current patchy geographical distribution of Cambrian sediments in central and southern Europe is interpreted as a phenomenon of (1) regionally different sedimentation rates on the Gondwanan shelf (probably by local origination of open intra-shelf basins caused by a general rifting process), and of (2) Late Cambrian to Early Ordovician different-scaled uplift and denudation of parts of the shelf. The content, the coinciding evolutionary patterns, and the paleogeographical relationships of the Cambrian faunas suggest that separation and evolution of terranes in central Perigondwana had not started before the end of the Cambrian or the beginning of the Early Ordovician. For Early and Middle Cambrian times at least, a slightly differentiated shelf-configuration of Perigondwana without isolated areas (terranes) fits best with the paleontological and sedimentological data.

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