Understanding how ice sheets responded to past climate change is fundamental to forecasting how they will respond in the future. Numerical models calculating the evolution of ice sheets depend upon accumulation data, which are principally available from ice cores. Here, we calculate past rates of ice accumulation using internal layering. The englacial structure of the East Antarctic ice divide at ridge B is extracted from airborne ice-penetrating radar. The isochronous surfaces are dated at their intersection with the Vostok ice-core site, where the depth–age relationship is known. The dated isochrons are used as input to a one-dimensional ice-flow model to investigate the spatial accumulation distribution. The calculations show that ice-accumulation rates generally increase from Vostok lake towards ridge B. The western flank of the ice divide experiences markedly more accumulation than in the east. Further, ice accumulation increases northwards along the ice divide. The results also show the variability of accumulation in time and space around the ridge B ice divide over the last 124 000 years.