Affiliation: Department of Anthropology and Heritage Studies – University of California Merced


Nicola Lercari is an Associate Professor of Heritage Studies in the Department of Anthropology and Heritage Studies at the University of California, Merced. He received his Ph.D. in History and Computing from the University of Bologna, Italy, and has participated in numerous digital humanities and digital archaeology research initiatives in Turkey, Italy, the United States, and Mexico.

Dr. Lercari's scholarship exposes the fundamental role that digital and geospatial technologies play in the investigation and protection of sites of cultural significance, archaeological excavation/museum collections, data, and information that describe and document the cultural diversity of our planet. His research can be categorized into three main threads: 1) understanding spatiality (i.e., space, place, and mapping) by searching for clues in the built environment using geospatial technology (i.e., remote sensing, 3D mapping, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and visualization); 2) developing public-facing approaches that alter the traditional processes of production and propagation of knowledge in historic parks, archaeological sites, and museums (i.e., citizen science, digital archives and collections, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mobile apps); and 3) investigating sites of cultural significance using community-based participatory frameworks that protect the cultural legacy of the past and engage with stakeholder communities (i.e., indigenous communities, residents, visitors)

At UC Merced, Lercari played a major role in establishing the Heritage Studies program and is a faculty member of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Graduate Group. He is Chair of the Wide-Area Visualization Environment (WAVE) virtual reality research facility and the Director of the Heritage Interpretation Visualization and Experience (HIVE) Lab.

Dr. Lercari received numerous grants, as PI or Co-PI, from the National Science Foundation, California State Parks, Henry Luce Foundation, the Archaeological Institute of America, the University of California Office of the President, Hellman Fellows Award, and Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, among others.