Three undoped lead zirconate titanate (PZT) ceramics were prepared with compositions close to the morphotropic phase boundary: Pb(Zr0.50Ti0.50)O3, Pb(Zr0.52Ti0.48)O3, and Pb(Zr0.54Ti0.46)O3. Internal friction Q-1 and shear modulus G were measured versus temperature from 20 °C to 500 °C. Experiments were performed on an inverted torsional pendulum at low frequencies (0.1, 0.3, and 1 Hz). The ferroelectric–paraelectric phase transition results in a peak (P1) of Q-1 correlated with a sharp minimum M1 of G. Moreover the Q-1(T) curves show two relaxation peaks called R1 and R2 respectively, correlated with two shear modulus anomalies called A1 and A2 on the G(T) curves. The main features of the transition P1 peak are studied, they suggest that its behavior is similar to the internal friction peaks associated with martensitic transformation. The relaxation peak, R1 and R2 are both attributed to motion of domain walls (DWs), and can be analyzed by thermal activated process described by Arrhenius law. The R2 peak is demonstrated to be due to the interaction of domain walls and oxygen vacancies because it depends on oxygen vacancy concentration and e- lectrical polarization. However, the R1 peak is more complex; its height is found to be increased as stress amplitude and heating rate increase. It seems that the R1 peak is influenced by three mechanisms: (i) relaxation due to DW–point defects interaction, (ii) variation of domain wall density, and (iii) domain wall depinning from point defect clusters. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.