Karl Butzer was awarded the Busk Medal of the Royal Geographical Society (1979), the Fryxell Medal of the Society for American Archaeology (1981), the Henry Stopes Medal of the Geologists’ Association of London (1982), and the Pomerance Medal of the Archaeological Institute of America (1991).
Other honors were awarded by the Association of American Geographers (1968, 1986, 1999); the American Geographical Society (1985); the Geological Society of America (1985); and the Conference of Latin American Geographers (1997, 2002). He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1976-77.
Butzer was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1984, and a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences in 1996.
Identified as a “Citation Centurion” in human geography, Transactions, Institute of British Geographers (10  222-34), Karl was a Plenary Speaker at meetings of the Association of American Geographers (1992) and the Society for American Archaeology (1994). His work has been discussed in Asian theoretical works such as Development of Historical Geography (in Japanese, ed. M. Hattori 1977, 209-13) and Theorists in contemporary Geography (in Korean, by Hyo-Hyun Sung, ed. Y.W. Kwon 1994, 143-60). A special edition of Geoarchaeology (ed. Bruce Gladfelter, 12  No. 4) was dedicated in honor of Karl Butzer.