We present electron microprobe-based in situ (Th + U)–Pb monazite chemical age data from granulite-facies metapelites in Prydz Bay, East Antarctica. The monazite age data define two distinct age populations, Late Neoproterozoic to Early Palaeozoic (c. 570–520 Ma) and Neoproterozoic (c. 950–820 Ma), that confirm the polytectonic nature of Prydz Bay. Our data suggest that similarity in lineation orientation along the Prydz Bay coast is not sufficient to necessarily indicate time-equivalance. The minimum duration of Early Palaeozoic tectonism, spanning at least 60 Ma, is constrained from an Mg–Al-rich metapelite: monazite hosted by coarse-grained orthopyroxene defines the oldest Early Palaeozoic population, whereas cordierite + orthopyroxene symplectites define the youngest Early Palaeozoic population. The spatial distribution of monazites and their ages is correlatable with the inferred mineral assemblage evolution. We are able to characterize the evolution of Early Palaeozoic tectonism in quantitative P–T–t–mineral assemblage space, demonstrating that ultrahigh-temperature tectono-metamorphism in Prydz Bay is of Early Palaeozoic age. The survival of Neoproterozoic inheritance in Fe–Al-rich metapelites has implications for high Pb retentivity in monazite when chemical and kinetic conditions are favourable. The approach and logic applied herein are entirely and directly transferable to the interrogation of any other metamorphic terrane.