England's coastal zone contains an important legacy of historic assets, including a complex array of fragile and irreplaceable archaeological remains. These remains are vital for the understanding of Britain's emergence as an island, her developing relationship with the sea, and those maritime influences which contributed to the forging of our identity as a mercantile, industrial and imperial power. This report documents research jointly commissioned by English Heritage and the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England from the Universities of Reading and Southampton during 1994-5. It examines the character of the recorded coastal archaeological resource and identifies future themes for survey and investigation. It also considers the natural and human processes to which coastal archaeological remains are vulnerable, including sea-level change, and make recommendations aimed at achieving their improved management.