The hippocampus plays a critical role in supporting episodic memory, in large part by binding together experiences and items with surrounding contextual information. At present, however, little is known about the roles of different hippocampal subfields in supporting this item–context binding. To address this question, we constructed a task in which items were affiliated with differing types of context—cognitive associations that vary at the local, item level and membership in temporally organized lists that linked items together at a global level. Participants made item recognition judgments while undergoing high-resolution fMRI. We performed voxel pattern similarity analyses to answer the question of how human hippocampal subfields represent retrieved information about cognitive states and the time at which a past event took place. As participants recollected previously presented items, activity patterns in the CA23DG subregion carried information about prior cognitive states associated with these items. We found no evidence to suggest reinstatement of information about temporal context at the level of list membership, but exploratory analyses revealed representations of temporal context at a coarse level in conjunction with representations of cognitive contexts. Results are consistent with characterizations of CA23DG as a critical site for binding together items and contexts in the service of memory retrieval.

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