Thomas Sever

Professor, Atmospheric Science Department


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.

Visit Thomas Sever's personal website


  • PhD. 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

Classes Taught


  • 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
  • 2002 NASA Group Achievement Award: Central America Research Team
  • 1994 Society of Professional Archeologists (SOPA), Exceptional Achievement Award.
  • 1993 NASA Exceptional Achievement Award
  • 1992 NASA Scientific Achievement Award
  • 1990 Earl Morris Award, University of Colorado, Boulder.
  • 1989 NASA Group Achievement Award
  • 1987 $40,000 National Science Foundation Research Award-Costa Rica (with Dr. Payson Sheets, University of Colorado)
  • 1986 $20,000 National Geographic Society Research Award-Yucatan
  • 1986 Graduate Tuition Scholarship, Space Sciences,University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
  • 1986 NASA Outstanding Performance
  • 1984 NASA Outstanding Performance
  • 1984 NASA Special Achievement Award
  • 1983 NASA Outstanding Performance
  • 1977 Earthwatch Fellowship, Peru


  • Thomas Sever and Daniel Irwin. "Landscape Archaeology: Remote-Sensing Investigation of the Ancient Maya in the Peten Rainforest of Northern Guatemala. Ancient Mesoamerica, 2003.
  • William Saturno, Thomas Sever, Daniel Irwin, Burgess Howell, and Thomas Garrison. "Putting Us on the Map: Remote Sensing Investigation of the Ancient Maya Landscape." In Remote Sensing in Archaeology , 2007.
  • Payson Sheets and Thomas Sever. "Creating and Perpetuating Social Memory Across the Ancient Costa Rican Landscape". In Remote Sensing in Archaeology, 2007
  • Payson Sheets and Thomas Sever. "3-D Visualization of Ancient Processional Landscapes in Costa Rica."
  • Steven Sader, Conrad Reining, Thomas Sever, and Carlos Soza. "Human Migration and Agricultural Expansion: A Threat to the Maya Tropical Forests." Journal of Forestry, 1997.