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

Following a massive cue from the armchair archaeologists, the Bern Archaeological Service went back to the site for its own excavation in the summer of 2018. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "3,500-Year-Old Swiss Relic Might Be Europe's Oldest Bronze Sculpture," 26 Sep. 2018 About 1,000 skeletons have been found since excavations began at Pompei in the 1700s, but this man’s skeleton was the first one found in at least a decade, said Massimo Osanna, the general director of the Archeological Park of Pompeii. Ian Shapira, Washington Post, "Everyone thought he was killed by a giant rock at Pompeii. Then, they found his skull.," 29 June 2018 The team, led by the US National Parks Service’s David Bustos, used aerial photography to spot the tracks and then selected a few groups for careful excavation and study. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Over 10,000 years ago, weapons at White Sands were aimed at giant sloths," 26 Apr. 2018 The museum already has set up an indiegogo.com page to raise money for the ship's excavation. CBS News, "Shipwreck in Lake Erie could be almost 200 years old," 23 Apr. 2018 Little money is available for excavations and for acquiring and curating specimens, and the country lacks a national institution in which its natural heritage can be studied and preserved. Sanjay Kumar, Science | AAAS, "India’s paleontologists fight destruction of its fossil riches," 4 Apr. 2018 In 2011, France set up a small bureau in Pyongyang charged with participating in archaeological excavations in the country and working with humanitarian groups operating there. Andrew Jeong, WSJ, "France Detains Civil Servant Suspected of Spying for North Korea," 27 Nov. 2018 But there’s a deeper impulse behind these restless excavations. Peter Jon Lindberg, Condé Nast Traveler, "Hanoi, Time and Again," 20 Nov. 2018 Preliminary excavations have also found porcelain dating from the period of China's Wanli Emperor in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. James Rogers, Fox News, "Stunning shipwreck discovery: 400-year-old wreck thrills experts," 25 Sep. 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

27 Jan 2019

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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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