Zircon megacrysts represent a late stage in the crystallisation of the magmas that produced the low-Cr megacryst suite (Ol+Opx+Cpx+Gnt+Ilm+Phl+Zir) found in many kimberlites, and may carry information on the sources of the parent magmas and the interaction of these magmas with the cratonic lithosphere. The isotopic composition of Hf has been measured in 124 mantle-derived zircon megacrysts from African, Siberian and Australian kimberlites, using a laser-ablation microprobe (LAM) and a multi-collector (MC) ICPMS. The zircons range in age from 90 Ma to ca 2500 Ma, allowing indirect analysis of mantle-derived Hf over a long time span. Most values of ε(Hf) fall between 0 and + 10, but zircon suites from several kimberlites range down to ε(Hf) = -16. Combined with published Nd data on the silicate members of the low-Cr megacryst suite, these data indicate crystallisation of zircon from magmas lying well below the terrestrial ε(Hf)-ε(Nd) array. LAM-ICPMS analyses of garnets and clinopyroxenes from mantle-derived peridotite xenoliths suggest that cratonic lithospheric mantle has Hf/Nd (0.3-0.5) greater than estimated Bulk Silicate Earth. The depleted and metasomatised lherzolites and harzburgites that make up much of the Archean lithospheric mantle have Lu/Hf ratios (≤0.15) low enough to account for the lowest ε(Hf) observed in the zircons, over time spans of 1-3.5 Ga. We therefore suggest that the magmas from which the kimberlitic zircons crystallised were derived from Depleted Mantle or OIB-type sources, and developed negative ε(Hf) through reaction with the subcontinental lithospheric mantle. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.