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 excavational (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of excavation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Those remains were found during excavations supporting efforts to preserve the mission-era church. Scott Huddleston, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio’s Alamo Cenotaph marked with graffiti overnight," 29 May 2020 After being unearthed during the excavations of the Qumran caves, the fragments were given to the Kingdom of Jordan in the 1950s by a leather expert at the University of Leeds named Ronald Reed. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Scientists discover that four “blank” Dead Sea Scrolls actually have text," 27 May 2020 During excavations of the Drimolen site just outside Johannesburg, researchers found a multitude of bone fragments. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Ancient humans are having a moment. Here are the fascinating new things we've learned this week about our ancestors," 2 Apr. 2020 More than 900 have been found, representing at least 5 different species, during excavations that began nearly a century ago. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, "In Groundbreaking Find, Three Kinds of Early Humans Unearthed Living Together in South Africa," 2 Apr. 2020 Slave burials also have shown up during excavations in St. Augustine. USA Today, "Forget what you know about 1619, historians say. Slavery began a half century before Jamestown," 17 Dec. 2019 The lump of ancient gum, about 3/4 of an inch long, was discovered during archaeological excavations on Lolland Island, prior to construction on a tunnel that will connect Denmark to Germany. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Ancient 'chewing gum' reveals life of young Stone-Age girl," 17 Dec. 2019 The San Diego Freeway widening project has hit a snag after human remains believed to be of Native American descent were found during excavations, a spokesman for the Orange County Transportation Authority said Wednesday. Los Angeles Times, "O.C. freeway work halted after discovery of bones believed to be those of a Native American," 9 Oct. 2019 The remains and artifacts were unearthed during excavations done by a Swedish researcher in 1891. Felicia Fonseca, The Denver Post, "Finland agrees to return Native American remains to tribes," 3 Oct. 2019

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

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Excavation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/excavation. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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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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