According to Portuguese legislation, archaeological heritage encompasses all remains, assets and other traces of the evolution of the planet, of life and human beings, the preservation and study of which help to retrace the history of mankind and its relation with the natural environment. They are the product of the archaeological activity seen as a scientific discipline.
The archaeological heritage also includes stratified deposits, structures, constructions, architectural groups, enhanced sites, moveable assets and monuments of other nature, as well as their rural or urban setting, whether they are located on the ground, subsoil or underwater, in territorial waters or in the continental shelf.
The archaeological heritage is a national asset as it testifies to the value of a country’s civilization or culture, bearing relevant cultural value and reflecting memory values, antiquity, authenticity, originality, rarity, uniqueness or exemplarity. It is up to the State to ensure its archive, conservation, management, enhancement and dissemination.
Basic Law establishing the bases for protection and enhancement of Cultural Heritage – Law no. 107/2001 of 8 September