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Using England as a case study, this book examines why the law has become the dominant means of preserving archaeological heritage, and how the process works. It explores the relationship between the law and archaeology, providing a basis for international comparison of systems of preservation law. Challenging the popular assumption that preservation law is simply a matter of pragmatics, the author shows that the corpus of "heritage" laws covering the cultural and natural environment operates as an important vector of moral and cultural change. By investigating the origins and historical development of English heritage laws during and since the 19th century, the book traces the effect of these laws on the development of archaeology. In particular, the work studies the operation of contemporary law on archaeological and natural material. It locates the emergence of the idea of preservation in its wider social, political and disciplinary contexts. It also demonstrates the extent to which such law encouraged and contributed to the development of archaeology as a discipline, and how it arose out of specific historical circumstances. Finally, the book reveals the three-stage process of valuation which operates today in all branches of preservation law.