Jurassic kimberlites in the southern Superior Province in northern Michigan contain a variety of possible lower-crustal xenoliths, including mafic garnet granulites, rare garnet-free granulites, amphibolites and eclogites. Whole-rock major-element data for the granulites suggest affinities with tholeiitic basalts. P–T estimates for granulites indicate peak temperatures of 690–730°C and pressures of 9–12 kbar, consistent with seismic estimates of crustal thickness in the region. The granulites can be divided into two groups based on trace-element characteristics. Group 1 granulites have trace-element signatures similar to average Archean lower crust; they are light rare earth element (LREE)-enriched, with high La/Nb ratios and positive Pb anomalies. Most plot to the left of the geochron on a 206Pb/€204Pb vs 207Pb/€204Pb diagram, and there was probably widespread incorporation of Proterozoic to Archean components into the magmatic protoliths of these rocks. Although the age of the Group 1 granulites is not well constrained, their protoliths appear to be have been emplaced during the Mesoproterozoic and to be older than those for Group 2 granulites. Group 2 granulites are also LREE-enriched, but have strong positive Nb and Ta anomalies and low La/Nb ratios, suggesting intraplate magmatic affinities. They have trace-element characteristics similar to those of some Mid-Continent Rift (Keweenawan) basalts. They yield a Sm–Nd whole-rock errorchron age of 1046 ± 140 Ma, similar to that of Mid-Continent Rift plume magmatism. These granulites have unusually radiogenic Pb isotope compositions that plot above the 207Pb/€204Pb vs 206Pb/€204Pb growth curve and to the right of the 4·55 Ga geochron, and closely resemble the Pb isotope array defined by Mid-Continent Rift basalts. These Pb isotope data indicate that ancient continental lower crust is not uniformly depleted in U (and Th) relative to Pb. One granulite xenolith, S69-5, contains quartz, and has a unique peraluminous composition. It has the lowest εNd and εHf values of the suite. Its isotopic compositions indicate that it is significantly older than the other granulites. Broken zircon cores encased by younger overgrowths suggest that this granulite includes a large component of pre-existing sedimentary rocks. Two distinct populations of zircons from S69-5 were dated by sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe. Abundant rounded zircons yield ages of 1104 ± 42 (2σ) Ma, which coincide with the Mid-Continent Rift flood basalt eruptions. Their morphology is similar to those found in lower-crustal rocks that have undergone granulite-facies metamorphism and thus they are considered to represent the age of Group 2 granulites. Also present are less abundant elongate zircon grains that yield a mean age of 1387 ± 32 (2σ) Ma. Their elongate shapes indicate growth from a melt or fluid, possibly associated with 1·3–1·5 Ga anorogenic granite magmatism exposed in the shallow crust to the south in Wisconsin, or related to an initial encroachment of the Keweenawan plume upon the lower crust. Older ages recognized in zircon cores are less well constrained but may be related to tectono-magmatic events in the southern Superior craton. Within the studied suite only S69-5 was recognized as a remnant of the Late Archean lower crust into which the Group 1 and 2 mafic granulite precursor basalts were intruded. Collectively, the data show that the lower crust beneath northern Michigan formed in Archean times and underwent a variety of tectono-magmatic processes throughout the Proterozoic, including orogenesis, partial melting and mafic magmatic underplating in response to upwelling mantle plumes.