At the basis of the legislation for cultural heritage there is the recognition that this has a "public interest" and therefore every individual has the right to see it protected and to "participate in the cultural life of the community", as proposed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) . Each State, however, implements this right in a variable way, inserting the management of cultural heritage in its own regulatory context. This research investigated the current legal space for public participation in the cultural heritage sector in Italy and England, focusing in particular on archeology. The volume starts from the analysis of the international documents of UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the European Union to trace the evolution of the tendency to encourage states to increase public participation, understood as an instrument of democracy; it then continues with the examination of the Italian and English legislation, the first more protectionist and the second more liberal, to outline a comparative balance between the two systems. Finally, it proposes practical changes to rethink the system of research, protection, enhancement and management of cultural heritage in Italy, in order to pursue the "public" interest in the care of cultural heritage in a more participatory and inclusive way.