ex·ca·va·tion | \ˌek-skə-ˈvā-shən \

Definition of excavation 

1 : the action or process of excavating

2 : a cavity formed by cutting, digging, or scooping

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Other Words from excavation

excavational \ˌek-skə-ˈvā-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of excavation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

That observation led to 13 years of painstaking excavations. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Oldest Stone Tools Outside Africa Unearthed in China," 12 July 2018 The clay tablet, which took three years of excavations to uncover, was found near the legendary Temple of Zeus in the ancient city of Olympia. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Oldest Known Section of 'The Odyssey' Found on Clay Tablet," 11 July 2018 During the last few weeks of excavation at the row house site, Killion and his students found a pit in the backyard that the workers would have used as a refrigerator. Caroline Blackmon, Detroit Free Press, "Digging for mid-1800s trash uncovers lives of Corktown residents," 1 July 2018 In two seasons of excavations, archaeologists collected 180 mostly complete skulls from the tower and thousands of skull fragments. James Rogers, Fox News, "Gruesome human sacrifice discovery: Skulls reveal grisly secrets of lost Aztec city," 27 June 2018 Magness has been working with Shua Kisilevitz of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University on the excavations every summer. James Rogers, Fox News, "Stunning biblical 'spies' mosaic discovered in Israel," 12 July 2018 The excavation will involve lasers, drones, and virtual reality visualizations, the site’s director general told an Italian wire service. National Geographic, "Headless Pompeii Victim Wasn't Crushed to Death, After All," 29 June 2018 Ultimately, hundreds volunteered, and the excavations were supported by Armstrong financially for almost 10 years. Maayan Jaffe-hoffman, Jewish Journal, "The untold story of Americans unearthing Israeli archaeology," 21 June 2018 And yet what follows is less predictable — a clear-eyed excavation of the foundation of our fears. Christopher Borrelli, chicagotribune.com, "Our summer of fear: A conversation with Chicago philosopher Martha Nussbaum," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'excavation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of excavation

circa 1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for excavation

borrowed from Latin excavātiōn-, excavātiō, from excavāre "to hollow out, excavate" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action

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Statistics for excavation

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for excavation

The first known use of excavation was circa 1611

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More Definitions for excavation


ex·ca·va·tion | \ˌek-skə-ˈvā-shən \

Kids Definition of excavation

1 : the act of excavating

2 : a hollow place formed by excavating


ex·ca·va·tion | \ˌek-skə-ˈvā-shən \

Medical Definition of excavation 

1 : the action or process of excavating

2 : a cavity formed by or as if by cutting, digging, or scooping

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