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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Five graves were chosen for excavation, a meticulous process requiring hand trowels, bent backs and dirty knees to reach fragile, rusty-colored remains. Washington Post, "Mysteries, skeletons abound under Virginia church’s floor," 28 June 2020 Interest in spotlighting the Ohlone heightened two years ago when an excavation of the land around the center yielded the remains of 67 tribal members and more than 13,000 artifacts, from arrow heads to grinding bowls. Kurtis Alexander, SFChronicle.com, "SF breaks ground on nature center near Sunol to spotlight its water," 26 June 2020 Researchers say the scans helped piece together the city’s water system layout and revealed evidence of a religious processional route that probably never would have been uncovered by excavation alone. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, "Points of Progress: Legal protections for LGBTQ employees, and more," 26 June 2020 In a statement emailed to Fox News, Dr. Barak Monnickendam-Givon and Tehila Sadiel, who are directing the excavation, said that 10 full magazines for Bren light machine guns were found, along with two bayonets for British Lee Enfield rifles. Fox News, "Jordanian ammunition stash from the Six-Day War discovered near Jerusalem's Western Wall," 25 June 2020 The Temple Mount is protected by Israeli law as a holy place, which clearly precludes excavation. Ruth Margalit, The New Yorker, "In Search of King David’s Lost Empire," 22 June 2020 An archeological excavation planned by the University of Oklahoma for July 13, resulting from two decades of research, is expected to find the site of a mass grave of victims. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "We still don’t know just how much was lost in the Tulsa massacre of 1921," 18 June 2020 Researchers will do test excavation of one site on July 13. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Devastating 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre wasn't worst U.S. riot, isn't ignored in books," 18 June 2020 Science kits include metal detectors, a dinosaur egg excavation and a shark tooth activity. Tracy Maness, Houston Chronicle, "YMCA hosting summer camps for families at Camp Cullen," 16 June 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about excavation

Time Traveler for excavation

Time Traveler

The first known use of excavation was circa 1611

See more words from the same year

Statistics for excavation

Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Excavation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/excavation. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on excavation

What made you want to look up excavation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!