Oxygen and carbon isotope ratios were measured in benthic foraminifers from the entire Pliocene and latest Miocene sections of Site 846, a 180-m section, at a sampling interval of 10 cm. This provides a temporal resolution of about 2500 yr. The documented continuity of the record is excellent. Using the time scale that was developed on the basis of orbital tuning of GRAPE density records, we observed a fairly constant phase relationship between delta18O and variations in the obliquity of Earth's rotational axis. A new numbering scheme for Pliocene isotope stages is proposed. This high-resolution delta18O record clarifies several interesting aspects of late Neogene climatic evolution, including a "glacial" event that may have caused the final Messinian desiccation of the Mediterranean Sea; one or more "interglacial" events that might have caused refilling of the Mediterranean; a well-resolved couplet of glacial events at about the age of the Sidujfall Subchron; interglacial extremes in the early part of the Gauss that could have resulted from either significant deglaciation on Antarctica or from warming of deep water; and a gradual ramp of increasingly extreme "glacial" events, starting at about the Kaena Subchron and culminating with delta18O stage 100 in the earliest Matuyama.