This review explores the roles of several sensory modalities in the establishment and maintenance of discharges correlated with head position and orientation in neurons of the hippocampus and associated structures in the Papez circuit. Focus is placed on the integration of signals related to environmental cues and to displacement movements, both of external and internal origin. While the visual, vestibular and motor systems each exert influences, position and head direction signals are nevertheless maintained in the absence of any one of these respective inputs. Context-related changes in hippocampal discharge correlates are also highlighted. These characteristics provide these signals with robustness and flexibility, properties particularly suited for cognitive processes such as contextual processing, memory and planning.