Thomas Sever

Last updated

Dr. Thomas L. Sever is an archaeologist with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. [1] Dr. Sever is NASA's only archaeologist [2] and works primarily with Dan Irwin to decode remote sensing readings. While most of his work has dealt with South American and ancient Mayan civilization, Dr. Sever has also used his skills in meteorology. [3]

NASA space-related agency of the United States government

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.

Marshall Space Flight Center rocketry and spacecraft propulsion research center

The George C. Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), located in Huntsville, Alabama, is the U.S. government's civilian rocketry and spacecraft propulsion research center. The largest NASA center, MSFC's first mission was developing the Saturn launch vehicles for the Apollo Moon program. Marshall has been the agency's lead center for Space Shuttle propulsion and its external tank; payloads and related crew training; International Space Station (ISS) design and assembly; and computers, networks, and information management. Located on the Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Alabama, MSFC is named in honor of Army General George Marshall.

Remote sensing Acquisition of information at a significant distance from the subject

Remote sensing is the acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon without making physical contact with the object and thus in contrast to on-site observation, especially the Earth. Remote sensing is used in numerous fields, including geography, land surveying and most Earth Science disciplines ; it also has military, intelligence, commercial, economic, planning, and humanitarian applications.

Remote sensing uses an apparatus that scans the earth with CAMS to detect features not seen by the human eye. While the sensitivity creates hundreds of readings and possibilities, specialists must analyze the data to determine the meanings. [4]

Dr. Sever has found that thermal imaging can discover old routes and footpaths now covered by dense vegetation. By interpreting the data, NASA has located hundreds of old and abandoned cities, not previously known to exist. [5]

Sever also used remote sensing technology in Costa Rica. A project team of professionals from NASA and the University of Colorado searched in the mountains for ancient footpaths, the oldest known in the New World, buried under six volcanic deposits and obscured from the air by a 150-foot jungle canopy. The difference in moisture level of the soils detected by TIMS led to their discovery. [6] Although they saw no physical evidence of the footpaths on the ground, the team dug trenches to confirm their existence through archaeological investigation. In addition, by following the footpaths and using predictive modeling, the project team located approximately 60 settlements and other sites in areas of the Costa Rican mountains that had been believed to be uninhabited in prehistoric times. He currently teaches at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), his best class is the collapse of civilizations. [7]

Costa Rica country in Central America

Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica, is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. It has a population of around 5 million in a land area of 51,060 square kilometers. An estimated 333,980 people live in the capital and largest city, San José with around 2 million people in the surrounding metropolitan area.

New World Western Hemisphere

The New World is one of the names used for the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas.

Volcano A rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface

A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface.

Articles by Sever

Related Research Articles

Stone spheres of Costa Rica assortment of over three hundred petrospheres in Costa Rica

The stone spheresof Costa Rica are an assortment of over three hundred petrospheres in Costa Rica, located on the Diquís Delta and on Isla del Caño. Locally, they are known as Las Bolas. The spheres are commonly attributed to the extinct Diquis culture and are sometimes referred to as the Diquís Spheres. They are the best-known stone sculptures of the Isthmo-Colombian area. They are thought to have been placed in lines along the approach to the houses of chiefs, but their exact significance remains uncertain.

Aviation archaeology is a recognized sub-discipline within archaeology and underwater archaeology as a whole. It is an activity practiced by both enthusiasts and academics in pursuit of finding, documenting, recovering, and preserving sites important in aviation history. For the most part, these sites are aircraft wrecks and crash sites, but also include structures and facilities related to aviation. It is also known in some circles and depending on the perspective of those involved as aircraft archaeology or aerospace archaeology and has also been described variously as crash hunting, underwater aircraft recovery, wreck chasing, or wreckology.

Gertrude Caton Thompson British archaeologist

Gertrude Caton Thompson, was an influential English archaeologist at a time when participation by women in the discipline was uncommon. While a lot of her archaeological work was in Egypt, she also went on expeditions in countries like Zimbabwe and South Arabia. Many of her contributions to the field of archaeology include a technique for excavating archaeological sites and information on Paleolithic to Predynastic civilizations in Zimbabwe and Egypt. Caton Thompson held many official positions in organizations such as the Prehistoric Society and the Royal Anthropological Institute.

Bosnian pyramid claims mountain

The 'Bosnian pyramid complex' is a pseudoarchaeological notion to explain the formation of a cluster of natural hills in central Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since 2005, Semir Osmanagić, also known as Sam Osmanagich, a Bosnian businessman now based in Houston, Texas, has claimed that these hills are the largest human-made ancient pyramids on Earth. His claims have been overwhelmingly refuted by scientists but he has proceeded to promote the area as a tourist attraction.

Arthur Andrew Demarest is an American anthropologist and archaeologist, known for his studies of the Maya civilization.

The archaeological record is the body of physical evidence about the past. It is one of the core concepts in archaeology, the academic discipline concerned with documenting and interpreting the archaeological record. Archaeological theory is used to interpret the archaeological record for a better understanding of human cultures. The archaeological record can consist of the earliest ancient findings as well as contemporary artifacts. Human activity has had a large impact on the archaeological record. Destructive human processes, such as agriculture and land development, may damage or destroy potential archaeological sites. Other threats to the archaeological record include natural phenomena and scavenging. Archaeology can be a destructive science for the finite resources of the archaeological record are lost to excavation. Therefore, archaeologists limit the amount of excavation that they do at each site and keep meticulous records of what is found. The archaeological record is the physical record of human prehistory and history, of why ancient civilizations prospered or failed and why those cultures changed and grew. It is the story of the human world.

Sarah Parcak American archaeologist and egyptologist

Sarah Helen Parcak is an American archaeologist, Egyptologist, and remote sensing expert, who has used satellite imaging to identify potential archaeological sites in Egypt, Rome, and elsewhere in the former Roman Empire. She is a professor of Anthropology and director of the Laboratory for Global Observation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In partnership with her husband, Greg Mumford, she directs survey and excavation projects in the Faiyum, Sinai, and Egypt's East Delta.

William Andrew "Bill" Saturno is an American archaeologist and Mayanist scholar who has made significant contributions toward the study of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. As of February 2015, Saturno holds a position as Assistant Professor in Archaeology at Boston University's College of Arts and Sciences (CAS).. He is also the Director of the Proyecto San Bartolo-Xultun at the Instito de Antropologia e Historia in Guatemala, a National Space SciResearch Scientist at the Marshall Space Flight Center, as well as a Research Associate at the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. Prior to his position at BU, Saturno was a lecturer at the University of New Hampshire. Saturno is most well known for his discovery of the discovery in 2001 of one of the oldest extant murals yet discovered in the Maya region, at the site of San Bartolo in northeastern Guatemala.[1] Of this discovery, he has said that it was his favorite and most challenging experience of his career, and that "being the first person to see them [the murals] after more than 2,000 years, uncovering them bit by bit, with each part more beautiful than the last, is an experience unlikely to be matched." In 2010, Saturno and Franco Rossi discovered what they believe to be a workroom of a Xultún record keeper. The Mayan hieroglyphics at the site included representations of dates roughly 7000 years in the future, casting doubt on the speculation that the conclusion of the Long Count calendar would result in a 2012 doomsday scenario His current research interests are New World and Mesoamerican civilizations, landscape archaeology, remote sensing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) application in archaeology, Mesoamerican iconography and religion, the evolution of complex societies, and archaeology in pop culture.

Archaeology, or archeology, is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, architecture, biofacts or ecofacts and cultural landscapes. Archaeology can be considered both a social science and a branch of the humanities. In North America archaeology is a sub-field of anthropology, while in Europe it is often viewed as either a discipline in its own right or a sub-field of other disciplines.

Remote sensing techniques in archaeology are an increasingly important component of the technical and methodological tool set available in archaeological research. The use of remote sensing techniques allows archaeologists to uncover unique data that is unobtainable using traditional archaeological excavation techniques.

Holmul

Holmul is a pre-Columbian archaeological site of the Maya civilization located in the northeastern Petén Basin region in Guatemala near the modern-day border with Belize.

Las Mercedes (L-289-LM) is a complex archaeological site located on the Caribbean slope of Costa Rica between the foothills of Turrialba Volcano and the alluvial plain. The site contains a variety of architectural features including platforms, plazas, retaining walls or terraces, funerary areas, ramps, and paved roads.

Frank Wentz is the CEO and director of Remote Sensing Systems, a company he founded in 1974. Remote Sensing Systems specializes in satellite microwave remote sensing research. Together with Carl Mears, he is best known for developing a satellite temperature record from MSU and AMSU. Intercomparison of this record with the earlier UAH satellite temperature record, developed by John Christy and Roy Spencer, revealed deficiencies in the earlier work; specifically, the warming trend in the RSS version is larger than the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) one. From 1978 to 1982 Frank was a member of NASA's SeaSat Experiment Team involved in the development of physically based retrieval methods for microwave scatterometers and radiometers. He has also investigated the effect of climate change on satellite-derived evaporation, precipitation and surface wind values. His findings are different from most climate change model predictions.

The Arenal Prehistory Project was a multidisciplinary research effort taking place between 1984 and 1987 that uncovered evidence of human occupation from Paleoindian and Archaic times through four sedentary phases to the Spanish Conquest in the tropical rainforest of Northwest Costa Rica.

Michael Jay Snarskis was an archeologist from the United States who founded the scientific study of archaeology in Costa Rica. At that time, almost all artifacts available to collectors were shorn of their provenance and historical significance by huaquero looters, whom Snarskis described as "the tomb-robbers ... who have [made] such studies more difficult."

Diane Zaino Chase is an American anthropologist and archaeologist who specializes in the study of the Ancient Maya. She is married to Dr. Arlen F. Chase, who is also an archaeologist whose work focuses on the ancient Maya. Their eldest child, Adrian, is pursuing a career in Mesoamerican archaeology as well. They have two other children: Aubrey and Elyse Chase. All three children have accompanied their parents to the archaeological site of Caracol in Belize, where they have been conducting excavations for over thirty years.

Payson D. Sheets is an American archaeologist, Mayanist, and professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is primarily known for his research in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and Lower Central America, most importantly for his work on the Maya civilization at Joya de Cerén in El Salvador. He specializes in Mesoamerican archaeology, lithic technology, ancient adaptations, geophysical applications, hazards research, and remote sensing.

Arlen F. Chase Mesoamerican archaeologist

Arlen F. Chase is a Mesoamerican archaeologist and is faculty member in the anthropology department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Previously, he served as the Departmental Chair at the University of Central Florida, noted for his work on exploring traces of Mayan civilization using lidar.

La Ciudad Blanca is a legendary settlement said to be located in the Mosquitia region of the Gracias a Dios Department in eastern Honduras. This extensive area of rainforest, which includes the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, has long been the subject of multidisciplinary research. Archaeologists refer to it as being a part of the Isthmo-Colombian Area of the Americas, one in which the predominant indigenous languages included those in the Chibchan and Misumalpan families. Due to the many variants of the story in the region, most professional archaeologists doubt it refers to any one actual settlement, much less one representing a city of the Pre-Columbian era.

Academia Nacional de Ciencias (Costa Rica) Costarican national academy

The Academia Nacional de Ciencias is Costa Rica's Academy of Sciences. The ANC was created as a “permanent forum for discussion and scientific analysis,” and serves both as an honorific society as well as a source of scientific advice for the government. It has a mandate to promote scientific culture and progress within Costa Rica, and to foster collaboration between national and international agencies. The ANC maintains membership in international organizations such as the International Council for Science (ICSU), the InterAmerican Network of Academies of Sciences (IANAS) and the Third World Network (TWN). The headquarters of the ANC are in San Pedro, in the province of San José.

References

  1. "Tom Sever". NASA Official Webpage. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  2. Santos Ballon, Massie. "Tom Sever, Archaeologist". University of California, Santa Cruze. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  3. Sever, Tom. "Remote Sensing in Archaeology". Remote Sensing. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  4. Sever, Tom. "Remote Sensing in Archaeology". Remote Sensing. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  5. Santos Ballon, Massie. "Tom Sever, Archaeologist". University of California, Santa Cruze. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  6. Sever, Tom. "Arenal Region, Costa Rica". NASA.org. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  7. "Atmospheric Science Faculty". UAH. Retrieved 24 March 2013.