New pollen, micro-charcoal, sediment and mineral analyses of a radiocarbon-dated sediment core from the Serra Sul dos Carajás (southeast Amazonia) indicate changes between drier and wetter climatic conditions during the past 25,000 yr, reflected by fire events, expansion of savanna vegetation and no-analog Amazonian forest communities. A cool and dry last glacial maximum (LGM) and late glacial were followed by a wet phase in the early Holocene lasting for ca. 1200 yr, when tropical forest occurred under stable humid conditions. Subsequently, an increasingly warm, seasonal climate established. The onset of seasonality falls within the early Holocene warm period, with possibly longer dry seasons from 10,200 to 3400 cal yr BP, and an explicitly drier phase from 9000 to 3700 cal yr BP. Modern conditions with shorter dry seasons became established after 3400 cal yr BP. Taken together with paleoenvironmental evidence from elsewhere in the Amazon Basin, the observed changes in late Pleistocene and Holocene vegetation in the Serra Sul dos Carajás likely reflect large-scale shifts in precipitation patterns driven by the latitudinal displacement of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone and changes in sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic.