The history of the Late Weichselian northwestern Barents Shelf, including western Svalbard, has been investigated by provenance/sedimentologist studies of five cores from the continental shelf and slope west of Svalbard. The chronostratigraphy of the cores is based on AMS 14C dates and oxygen isotope analyses. Interpretations of the cores suggest that the ice sheets of western Svalbard and northwestern Barents Sea experienced advances and retreats in two steps. The first significant ice advance beyond the present coastline occurred ca. 22,000 14C yr B.P. and was followed by an ice advance to the shelf edge ca. 18,000 14C yr B.P. Ice recession from the outer shelf and the southwestern Barents Sea began 14,800 14C yr B.P. and was followed by a second ice recession between 13,000 and 12,000 14 C yr B.P. during which ice withdrew from the inner shelf. A minor readvance of the ice sheet on the shelf west of Svalbard occurred close to 12,400 14C yr B.P. The first deglaciation event was associated with release of icebergs containing ice-rafted detritus, while the later episode also included significant amounts of meltwater and fine-grained sediment.