Tectono-stratigraphic terranes-fault-bounded blocks of the Earth's crust characterized by a geological history distinct from that of adjacent terranes1-are now widely recognized in Phanerozoic and Proterozoic orogenic belts, and their present configurations are thought to result from plate-tectonic processes similar to those in operation today2-4. There has been much debate about whether such processes operated in Archaean times5-6. Here we present new data from the Archaean high-grade gneiss complex of the Godthåb (now Nuuk) region of southern West Greenland, which show that discrete tectonic units recognized in the south of the region7 can be more widely identified. At least four terranes are recognized, each of which evolved separately until their juxtaposition in the late Archaean. This suggests that at least some Archaean high-grade gneiss complexes may resemble more recent orogenic belts, formed by plate-tectonic processes. © 1988 Nature Publishing Group.