The accurate and precise determination of trace elements in marine sediments is an important aspect of geochemical studies of the marine environment and for assessing the levels and pathways of marine pollutants. Past intercomparison studies conducted by the Marine Environment Laboratory of IAEA (formerly the International Laboratory of Marine Radioactivity) have focussed upon near-shore marine sediments where trace metal contamination is frequently observed. The present exercise was designed to study a typical oxidised deep-sea sediment characterized by a preponderance of fine particle clays. Analysis of such material is a routine matter for most geochemists but represents a ``baseline sample`` for marine pollution chemists. The present exercise represented a unique opportunity for chemists worldwide to intercompare their analytical methodologies for deep-sea sediments. By statistically examining the data from this study, the material can be certified for future use as a reference material - apparently the only one of its kind available throughout the world. 6 refs, figs and tabs.