Panagiotis (Takis) Karkanas is a geoarchaeologist well known for his research on site formation processes using earth-science tools including archaeological sediment micromorphology. He was born in Athens, Greece, and graduated from University of Athens with a degree in Geology. He finished his PhD dissertation in 1994 at the same university. For more than 20 years he has served as a senior geologists at the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology-Speleology in the Antiquities Service of Greece. During 2004-2014 he was an adjunct lecturer at the Department of Geography, Harokopio University of Athens. Since 2014, he has served as the director of the Malcolm H. Wiener Laboratory for Archaeological Science at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece. He is Research Affiliate of the Institute of Human Origin, Arizona State University, a foreign member of both the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and recipient of the Rip Rapp Archaeological Geology Award by the Geological Society of America.

Research Interests

Panagiotis (Takis) Karkanas is interested in all aspects of geoarchaeology including site-formation processes and palaeoenvironmental reconstructions. He has carried out geoarchaeological research in sites of almost all cultural periods and associated landscapes in many countries around the world. His research in the eastern Mediterranean and South Africa has contributed to a broader understanding of hominin behavior such as early use of fire and hearth related activities. He is also involved in important studies related to the replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans and the later dispersal of agriculture. He has introduced new rigor in the application of archaeological sciences to classical archaeology by using microscopic approaches to reveal buried scenes of ancient everyday activities. Further collaborative research in South Africa produced high-resolution understanding of timing and intensity of climatic oscillations over the last 400,000 years, including new estimates for the degree of sea level rise during Marine Isotopic Stage 11, a period of global warming analogous to future climate change.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 51: Anthropology

Secondary Section

Section 15: Geology