Modern chitons (Mollusca: Polyplacophora) possess a highly conserved skeleton of eight shell plates (valves) surrounded by spicules or scales, and fossil evidence suggests that the chiton skeleton has changed little since the first appearance of the class in the Late Cambrian period (about 500 million years before present, Myr BP). However, the Palaeozoic problematic taxon Multiplacophora, in spite of having a more complex skeleton, shares several derived characters with chitons. The enigmatic status of the Multiplacophora is due in part to the fact that its members had an exoskeleton of numerous calcium carbonate valves that usually separated after death. A new articulated specimen from the Carboniferous period (about 335Myr BP) of Indiana reveals that multiplacophorans had a dorsal protective surface composed of head and tail valves, left and right columns of overlapping valves (five on each side), and a central zone of five smaller valves, all surrounded by an annulus of large spines. Here we describe and name the articulated specimen and present evidence that multiplacophorans were chitons. Thus the highly conserved body plan of living chitons belies the broad disparity of this clade during the Palaeozoic era.