Nicola Masini

Nicola Masini (born 1965) is an Italian scientist with CNR noted for his work on exploring traces of Andean civilizations in Peru and Bolivia using spatial technologies and Remote Sensing.[1]


He graduated in Engineering in 1990, becoming a Researcher with the CNR in 1995, Senior scientist at CNR-IBAM in 2003, and Professor of Science for Conservation and Architectural Restoration at the University of Basilicata since 2002. His dominant scientific interest is the application and the development of new approaches to archaeological research by integrating satellite remote sensing, LiDAR and geophysical prospecting.

He has been directing Italian Conservation heritage and Archaeogeophysics (ITACA) Mission in Peru since 2007.[2] From 2007 to 2015, he directed several scientific investigations at the Nasca ceremonial center of Cahuachi, Pachacamac, Tiwanaku, Machu Picchu and a number of archaeological sites in the Nasca Province and Lambayeque region, working with Rosa Lasaponara, and archaeologists Giuseppe Orefici,[3] Walter Alva, Ignacio Alva, and Denise Pozzi-Escot.[4]

The most remarkable achievements of the ITACA Mission [5] are the discovery of a settlement on the riverbed of the Nasca,[6] a number of findings in some of the Cahuachi temples,[7] the monitoring of archaeological looting in South and North Peru,[8] and study of the ancient channeling in Pachacamac.

Since 2003, he has been chief advisor of a research project with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Henan (China) focusing on the use of digital space technologies for archaeological investigations and the management of cultural resources.[9][10] He is currently conducting investigations using satellite imagery, including SAR [11], [12] to identify unknown sites and routes along the old Silk Road. Since 2005, in Southern Italy, he has been conducting some remote sensing-based investigations on medieval settlements abandoned in the Late Middle Ages. In 2018 using LiDAR he enabled to discover a fortified settlement under the canopy in North of Basilicata. [13]

Current research

His scientific interest centers on the application and development of methodologies for the conservation of cultural heritage and archaeological research.[14] His interdisciplinary approach draws on spatial technologies, non invasive diagnostics, and geophysics in a holistic vision that brings together history, archaeology, and conservation [15]

Scientific books and papers


  • Lasaponara R., Masini N. (Eds) 2012, Satellite Remote Sensing: a new tool for Archaeology, Springer, Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, ISBN 978-90-481-8800-0.
  • Lasaponara R., Masini N., Orefici G. (Eds). The Ancient Nasca World New Insights from Science and Archaeology. Springer International Publishing, 2016
  • Masini N., Soldovieri F. (Eds), Sensing the Past. From artifact to historical site. Springer International Publishing, 2017.


  • Masini N., Lasaponara N., Orefici G. 2009, Addressing the challenge of detecting archaeological adobe structures in Southern Peru using QuickBird imagery, Journal of Cultural Heritage, 10S, pp. 3–9.
  • Lasaponara R., Masini N., Rizzo E., Orefici G. 2011. New discoveries in the Piramide Naranjada in Cahuachi (Peru) using satellite, Ground Probing Radar and magnetic investigations, Journal of Archaeological Science, 38, 2031-2039,
  • Lasaponara R., Masini N. 2014. Beyond modern landscape features: New insights in the archaeological area of Tiwanaku in Bolivia from satellite data. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 26, 464–471,
  • Masini N., Orefici G. et al. 2016. Cahuachi and Pampa de Atarco: Towards Greater Comprehension of Nasca Geoglyphs. In: Lasaponara R., Masini N., Orefici G. (Eds). The Ancient Nasca World New Insights from Science and Archaeology. Springer International Publishing, 2016, pp. 239–278, doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-47052-8_12
  • Jiang A., Chen F., Masini N. et al. (2016), Archeological crop marks identified from Cosmo-SkyMed time series: the case of Han-Wei capital city, Luoyang, China. International Journal of Digital Earth, 10(8), 846-860.
  • Masini, N., Gizzi, F. T. et al. 2018. Medieval Archaeology Under the Canopy with LiDAR. The (Re)Discovery of a Medieval Fortified Settlement in Southern Italy, in Remote Sensing, 10, 1598, doi: 10.3390/rs10101598


  • Aimi A., Arqueólogos Intelectuales Italianos en el Peru. Instituto Italiano de Cultura de Lima, Lima, 2015, pp. 47–48.
  • Sartini R., Passa per lo Spazio la nuova Via della Seta. "Il Nodo di Gordio", 4 (2014), pp. 27–33.


  1. El Dominical - Lima, 25 de diciembre del 2011 "Ciencia al servicio de la Cultura. Misión científica italiana facilitó el descubrimiento de nuevos sitios en Nasca y Lambayeque.
  3. Masini et al. 2009b
  4. |La observación del pasado y los descubrimientos del presente|
  5. Masini N., Lasaponara R., Rizzo E., Orefici G. Integrated Remote Sensing Approach in Cahuachi (Peru): Studies and Results of the ITACA Mission (2007–2010), In: Lasaponara R., Masini N. (Eds) 2012, Satellite Remote Sensing: a new tool for Archaeology, Springer, 2012, pp. 307-344
  6. Discovery News - Ancient Peru pyramid spotted by satellite
  7. Lasaponara et al. 2011
  8. BBC News Protecting Peru's ancient past
  9. "Nicola Masini | Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) -".
  10. Intergovernmental Cooperation Project: Smart management of cultural heritage sites in Italy and China: Earth Observation and pilot projects
  12. Jiang et al. 2016
  13. Masini et al. 2018
  14. Masini & Soldovieri 2017
  15. "Nicola Masini | Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) -".
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