U–Pb LA–SF–ICP–MS analyses of detrital zircons from a metalitharenite on Inousses Island, Greece, gave major age groups of 310–350, 450–500, 550–700, 900–1050 and 1880–2040 Ma and minor peaks between 2600 and 2800 Ma. The youngest concordant zircon grains of 310–330 Ma indicate the maximum age of deposition to be Late Carboniferous, rather than Ordovician, as had been earlier assumed. The lack of zircon ages between 1.1 and 1.8 Ga, coupled with the occurrence of c. 2-Ga-old zircons, imply a northern Gondwana-derived source. Detrital zircons from a garnet–mica schist on Psara Island yielded a major age group of c. 295–325 Ma and only minor Early Palaeozoic and Late Neoproterozoic ages. The youngest grains around 270 Ma indicate the maximum age of deposition to be Late Permian. The Early Palaeozoic ages support a source from terranes at the southern margin of Laurussia during the Late Palaeozoic and hence clarify the palaeotectonic position of units from the eastern Aegean Sea within the Palaeotethyan realm.