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

Oddly, the discovery has been somewhat tainted by rumors of criminal activity at the excavation site. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "3,500-Year-Old Swiss Relic Might Be Europe's Oldest Bronze Sculpture," 26 Sep. 2018 However, given mercury's toxicity—and, again, the lack of proper technology—the government has stopped excavation work in the area. Hanya Yanagihara, Condé Nast Traveler, "50 Things to Do in Asia Before You Die," 24 Sep. 2018 Although researchers had previously conducted limited surveys of the area, the first full-fledged excavation, a joint venture between Azusa Pacific and the Hebrew University, began in 2013. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Could This Sculpted Head Depict a Little-Known Biblical King?," 11 June 2018 Robert Rumsby, a former Army lieutenant who had worked on the Tarawa excavations, saw her comment and responded. Author: Dave Philipps, Anchorage Daily News, "Lost in battle, found by amateur sleuths: An ‘unknown’ Marine," 19 Apr. 2018 Archaeologists found the barrels, which were converted to toilets in the mid-to-late 17th century, while conducting excavation work in the central district of Kultorvet back in 2011, Cosmos’ Andrew Masterson reports. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Archaeologists Unseal 17th-Century Danish Latrines to Discover Copenhageners’ Dietary Habits," 9 July 2018 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

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

1 Dec 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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More from Merriam-Webster on excavation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with excavation

Spanish Central: Translation of excavation

Nglish: Translation of excavation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of excavation for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about excavation

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the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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