ex·​ca·​va·​tion | \ ˌek-skə-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce excavation (audio) \

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 How to pronounce excavation (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of excavation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An excavation on the Red Sea coast revealed what seems to be a pet cemetery from nearly 2,000 years ago, the earliest yet identified. Sarah Lewin Frasier, Scientific American, "In Case You Missed It," 23 Apr. 2021 The 12 rows of teeth on the shark's lower jaw, for example, were still obscured by layers of sediment after excavation. BostonGlobe.com, "‘Godzilla’ shark discovered in New Mexico gets formal name," 17 Apr. 2021 Dawoud Bey’s work is both a documentation and an excavation. Sasha Bonét, Vulture, "Dawoud Bey on 6 Photos That Pushed His Work Forward," 12 Apr. 2021 After excavation, the mummies were transported to Cairo by boats. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, "Egypt Transported 22 Mummies in Elaborate Parade to Celebrate New Museum in Cairo," 5 Apr. 2021 After excavation, the mummies were taken to Cairo by boats that sailed the Nile. Samy Magdy, USA TODAY, "Egypt parades royal mummies in show of Pharaonic heritage," 4 Apr. 2021 During the excavation, experts found human bones belonging to an individual at least 50 years old, who appears to have been in bed when calamity struck; nail and wood residues were discovered beneath the body. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian Magazine, "Ancient Pompeiians Stopped at This ‘Snack Bar’ to Feast on Snails, Fish and Wine," 30 Dec. 2020 In the meantime, the artifacts discovered during the excavation will likely be displayed at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, which opened to the public in 2017. Christine Condon, baltimoresun.com, "Archaeologists discover site of Harriet Tubman’s father’s home in Maryland," 20 Apr. 2021 Although the excavation started last September, there is still a lot of work to be done, as only the southern part of the city has been excavated. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, "This 3,000-Year-Old Egyptian City Just Became the Most Important Archeological Discovery Since King Tut’s Tomb," 14 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for excavation

Time Traveler

The first known use of excavation was circa 1611

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Statistics for excavation

Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Excavation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/excavation. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for excavation


ex·​ca·​va·​tion | \ ˌek-skə-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce excavation (audio) \

Kids Definition of excavation

1 : the act of excavating
2 : a hollow place formed by excavating


ex·​ca·​va·​tion | \ ˌek-skə-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce excavation (audio) \

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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