A cyclic marl–limestone succession of Middle–Late Campanian age has been investigated with respect to a Milankovitch-controlled origin of geochemical data. In general, the major element geochemistry of the marl–limestone rhythmites can be explained by a simple two-component mixing model with the end-members calcium carbonate and ‘average shale’-like material. Carbonate content varies from 55 to 90%. Non-carbonate components are clay minerals (illite, smectite) and biogenic silica from sponge spicules, as well as authigenically formed zeolites (strontian heulandite) and quartz. The redox potential suggests oxidizing conditions throughout the section. Trace element and stable isotopic data as well as SEM investigations show that the carbonate mud is mostly composed of low-magnesium calcitic tests of planktic coccolithophorids and calcareous dinoflagellate cysts (calcispheres). Diagenetic overprint results in a decrease of 2 ‰ δ18O and an increase in Mn of up to 250 ppm. However, the sediment seems to preserve most of its high Sr content compared to the primary low-magnesium calcite of co-occurring belemnite rostra. The periodicity of geochemical cycles is dominated by 413 ka and weak signals between 51 and 22.5 ka, attributable to orbital forcing. Accumulation rates within these cycles vary between 40 and 50 m/Ma. The resulting cyclic sedimentary sequence is the product of (a) changes in primary production of low-magnesium calcitic biogenic material in surface waters within the long eccentricity and the precession, demonstrated by the CaCO3 content and the Mg/Al, Mn/Al and Sr/Al ratios, and (b) fluctuations in climate and continental weathering, which changed the quality of supplied clay minerals (the illite/smectite ratio), demonstrated by the K/Al ratio. High carbonate productivity correlates with smectite-favouring weathering (semi-arid conditions, conspicuously dry and moist seasonal changes in warmer climates). Ti as the proxy indicator for the detrital terrigenous influx, as well as Rb, Si, Zr and Na, shows only low frequency signals, indicating nearly constant rates of supply throughout the more or less pure pelagic carbonate deposition of the long-lasting third-order Middle–Upper Campanian sedimentary cycle.