Thomas Sever, Ph.D.

Professor, Atmospheric and Earth Science


320 Sparkman Drive
National Space Science & Technology Center
Room 3050
Huntsville, AL 35899
Campus Map



Dr. Sever has conducted remote sensing archaeological research in Peru, Guatemala, Bolivia, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Israel, Louisiana, New Mexico, Ohio, and Georgia. His most current research focuses on the ancient Maya of northern Guatemala, the site of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, land modification and deforestation in the prehistoric Amazon Basin, and ancient Moche sites in northern Peru.

Curriculum Vitae

Personal Website


  • Ph.D.. in Anthropology/Archaeology, University of Colorado at Boulder, 1990
  • M.A. in Anthropology/Archaeology, Sangamon State University, 1976
  • B.A., Education/English, Harris College, 1971

Honors & Awards

  • 2013 University of Alabama Huntsville, School of Science Excellence in Teaching Award
  • 2010 Oberth Award—American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • 2008 NASA Distinguished Service Award
  • 2006 NASA Group Achievement Award: SERVIR Project
  • 2005 NASA Group Achievement Award: SERVIR Project
  • 2005 NASA Science Directorate MSFC Core Value Quality Award
  • 2005 NASA Appreciation Award
  • 2004 NASA Special Service Award
  • 2004 NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award
  • 2004 NASA Science Directorate MSFC Core Value Innovation Award


  • Environmental Archaeology
  • Remote Sensing
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Human-Climate-Environment Interactions

Recent Publications

  • Testing a Quantitative Method for Interpreting Gradiometer Data Collected on a Middle Woodland Platform Mound (1LA111) in Lawrence County, Alabama. Travis Rael, Robert Griffin, and Thomas L. Sever. To be submitted in the summer of 2019.

  • The Nature and Origins of Linear Features in the Bajo de Azucar, Guatemala: Implications for Ancient Maya Adaptation to a Changing Environment. Geoarchaeology. (N. Dunning, R. Griffin, T. Sever, W. Saturno, J. Jones). 2017.

  • Analysis of Ancient Footpath Detection Using Remote Sensing to Determine Ancient Settlement, Transportation, and Communication. To be submitted and published in VINCULOS, Dr. Payson Sheets Editor, University of Colorado. T. Sever lead author. To be submitted after field survey/excavation verification for image analysis results in Summer 2019.

  • Testing a Quantitative Method for Interpreting Gradiometer Data Collection on a Middle Woodland Platform Mound (1LA111) in Lawrence County, Alabama. Journal of Southeastern Archaeology. Authors: Travis Rael, T. Sever, and R. Griffin. To be submitted after MS defense of Travis Rael in Summer 2018.

  • Comparison of LIDAR Data and Thermal Infrared Multispectral Scanner Data for Cultural Resource Inventory in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Authors: Drs. Thomas L. Sever (UAH) and Timothy DeSmet (Binghampton U. New York). Journal of Field Archeology. In preparation.

  • "Thermal Imaging in Archeological Research: The Potential and Current Limitations." In preparation. Peer-reviewed paper to be submitted to the Journal of Archaeological Science. T. Sever, author.

  • A Satellite-Based Perspective on Ancient Maya Settlement, Deforestation, and Climate. Proceedings of Digital Future of World Heritage Conference, Rome, Italy. T. Sever, author. to be published 2019.

  • A Satellite-Based Perspective on Ancient Climate in Tropical and Desert Regions. Society of American Archaeology, San Francisco, CA 2015. T. Sever, author. To be published 2019.

  • The Application of Remote Sensing and GIS Technologies to Archaeological Research, Past, Present, and Future. T. Sever, author. Society of American Archaeology Publication. TBP 2019.

  • "Recent Applications and Innovation in Archaeological Remote Sensing", Society of American Archaeology. April 26, 2014, Austin, Texas. (R. Griffin, N. Dunning, T. Sever). TBP 2017-19.

Affiliate Faculty

  • Dr. Arastoo Biazar
  • Dr. Monte Bateman
  • Dr. Dan Cecil
  • Dr. Hugh Christian
  • Dr. Tim Coleman
  • Dr. Eugene Crawford
  • Dr. Richard Ferrare
  • Mr. Burgess Howell
  • Mr. Daniel Irwin
  • Dr. Gary Jedlovec
  • Dr. Timothy Lang
  • Dr. Xiong Liu
  • Dr. Eugene McCaul
  • Dr. Walt Petersen
  • Dr. Jonathan Pleim
  • Dr. Rahul Ramachandran
  • Dr. Roy Spencer