Rolfe David Mandel

Research Centers - Anthropology, Kansas Geological Survey
University Distinguished Professor
Senior Scientist, Geoarcheaology/Quaternary Geology
Director and State Geologist, Kansas Geological Survey
Primary office:
University of Kansas
1930 Constant Avenue, University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS 66047-3724


Expertise and Current Research Activity

Mandel's published works span a wide range of topics including paleopedology, late-Quaternary landscape evolution, isotope geochemistry, and paleoenvironmental reconstruction. He has spent over 30 years working with archaeologists on projects throughout the United States and eastern Mediterranean, focusing on the effects of geologic processes on the archaeological record. During the past 10 years much of his research has involved the use of geoscientific methods to search for the earliest evidence of humans in the Central Great Plains and Midwest. Dr. Mandel founded and chaired the Society for American Archaeology's Geoarchaeology Interest Group (1997-2001), served as Chair of the Geological Society of America's Archaeological Geology Division (1997-1998), and was President of the American Quaternary Association (2009-2010). In 2012 he was appointed Chair of the U.S. National Committee for Quaternary Research/INQUA. Presently he is an Associate Editor for Current Research in the Pleistocene, Geoarchaeology: An International Journal, and the Encyclopedia of Geoarchaeology. He has received many awards and distinctions, including Fellow of the Geological Society of America, the 2011 University of Kansas (KU) Center for Teaching Excellence Award, the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 2009 John C. Wright Graduate Mentor Award, and the 2012 Kansas Board of Regents' Haguchi/Irvin E. Youngberg Research Achievement Award. The Geological Society of America recognized his achievements with two prestigious awards: the George Rapp Award for outstanding contributions to the interdisciplinary field of archaeological geology, and the 2010 Kirk Bryan Award for Excellence.


Ph.D., Special Studies Quaternary Research Program, University of Kansas

M.A., Geography, University of Kansas

B.A., Geography, University of Texas

Teaching Interests

  • Geoarchaeology
  • Geomorphology
  • Quaternary Soils
  • Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction
  • Environmental Geology
  • Natural Resources

Research Interests

  • Geoarchaeology
  • Quaternary Geology
  • Geomorphology
  • Fluvial processes
  • Pedology
  • Remote Sensing
  • Environmental Geology
  • Physical Geology
  • Quaternary Paleontology
  • Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction

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