Shared between Human-Computer Interaction and Cultural Heritage, the concept of Cultural Presence may provide an encompassing theoretical and methodological framework for Virtual Archaeology. The factors underlying presence have been extensively investigated, by means of both particular analyses as well as general statistical approaches. Yet, Cultural Presence has mostly been defined theoretically, and there are no global empirical examinations of it. The goal of this study is to verify the validity of the concept and to understand its underlying factors in the field of Virtual Archaeology. To that end we established an operational definition of Cultural Presence, we built a virtual reconstruction of an archaeological site based on it, and we evaluated the environment by means of self-reports and exploratory factor analysis. The general conclusion is that the concept of Cultural Presence is sound and composed of three main factors (cultural representation and engagement, social presence, and communicational aspects of technology); yet, it is not universal, but influenced by purpose and demographic variables.

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