This article presents the key results of a major survey carried out by the NEARCH project on the public perception of archaeology and heritage across Europe. The analysis focuses on three main points of significance for contemporary archaeological practice. The first is the image of archaeology and its definition in the perception of the general public. The second concerns the values that archaeology represents for the public. The third focuses on the social expectations placed on archaeologists and archaeology. The NEARCH survey clearly indicates that there is a significant public expectation by Europeans that archaeology should work comprehensively across a broad range of areas, and that cultural heritage management in general needs to engage more with different archaeological and heritage groups.