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

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 After assessing the 2003 reports, officials determined there was sufficient evidence to do additional excavation work at the crash site. Stephen Smith, CBS News, 24 Mar. 2022 What is the name of the centuries-old cathedral in Paris that was damaged by fire in 2019 and is still revealing secrets during ongoing excavation work? CNN, 17 Mar. 2022 When the museum purchased the sculpture from a Swiss gallery in 1961, the nose, which had been intact upon excavation, was missing. Malcolm Gay, BostonGlobe.com, 30 Apr. 2022 In 2017, Hamas bulldozed over the excavation site of Tel Es-Sakan, a 25-acre Canaanite city that was built more than 1,000 years before the pyramids and discovered in 1998. NBC News, 27 Apr. 2022 The excavation site lies under a stony layer that dates from the 18th century, but some lower levels go back as far as the 14th, and some even the early 13th century, the Culture Ministry said. Reuters, CNN, 16 Mar. 2022 The stone board game in Oman was just one of several discoveries made at the excavation site, reports Ashley Cowie for Ancient Origins. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 Jan. 2022 University of Cambridge Members of the Cambridge Archaeological Unit at the excavation site of the Hospital of St. John the Evangelist. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 5 Jan. 2022 From there, visitors begin a descent down a ramp meant to recall the one at the excavation site once the cleanup effort began. Emily Witt, The New Yorker, 9 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of excavation was circa 1611

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Excavation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/excavation. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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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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