Lower Palaeozoic rocks in the Karadere-Zirze area, east of Safranbolu (Pontides, northern Turkey), range from Early Ordovician to Silurian. Overlying the probably Tremadoc Bakacak Formation are Aydos Formation quartzites, followed conformably by the Karadere Formation, dated as Early Arenig to Early Llanvirn by means of graptolites which are assigned to seventeen genera and include three new forms: Eoglyptograptus bouceki, Prolasiograptus haplus praecursor and Undulograptus? mui. Late Arenig trilobites from the Karadere Formation include Bergamia, Cyclopyge, Dionidella?, Leioshumardia and Seleneceme. In the Limestone Member of the overlying Ketencikdere Formation, uncommon trilobites suggest only a mid- to late Ordovician age, but con-odonts with Colour Alteration Index 5–6 indicate the Amorphognathus tvaerensis Biozone (early Caradoc). Macrofossils are rare in the Siltstone Member, but conodonts from the middle of the unit suggest the highest subzone of the A. tvaerensis Biozone; the youngest visible strata are, on acritarch evidence, at least as high as Caradoc, but the Ashgill is not confirmed and the contact with overlying Silurian rocks is unexposed. The Findikli Formation comprises: a Lower Member, black argillites with Llandovery graptolites and acritarchs; and an Upper Member, grey shales with late Wenlock graptolites, overlain unconformably by Devonian rocks. The succession differs significantly from contemporaneous deposits in southern Turkey and its affinities lie with western Europe, including the Welsh Basin.