Europe has known some 500,000 years of human activity and settlement, from the earliest hunter-gatherers to the present day. As a result, almost all sites on mainland Britain have had previous human occupation and are therefore of potential historical interest. The study of archaeological and other historical resources is important to (a) fulfil an innate curiosity about the past, since the origins and development, lifestyles, economy and industry of previous generations can be traced and understood through archaeological remains; (b) contribute to the sense of tradition and culture; and (c) promote a sense of national identity.