Optical dating was used to obtain a chronology for a loess-palaeosol sequence in the Guanzhong Basin on the Loess Plateau in China. The sedimentary sequence recorded two dry episodes (3.7 similar to 2.4 ka and 1.2 similar to 0.8 ka ago) in the Holocene as shown by the presence of two layers of loess within the Holocene deposits. These two arid events are consistent with records of global climate change in the Holocene and also coincident with major historic events in China. This finding suggests that loess-paleosol sequences in China can record global climate changes and implies that rapid climate change affected the progress of human civilization. In addition, changes in the sedimentation rate through the section suggest that agricultural expansion may have accelerated the rate of dust accumulation.