Excavation is the act or process of digging, especially when something specific is being removed from the ground. Archaeologists use excavation to find artifacts and fossils.

There are many types of excavation, but they all involve digging holes in the earth. Mining for coal, gold, or diamonds all require excavation, and before buildings and houses can be built, there is often some excavation that's done before a foundation can be poured. The Latin source of excavation is excavationem, "a hollowing out," from excavare, "to hollow out," with its roots of ex-, "out," and cavare, "to hollow."

Definitions of excavation

n the act of digging

“there's an interesting excavation going on near Princeton”
dig, digging
Type of:
creating by removal
the act of creating by removing something

n a hole in the ground made by excavating

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bore, bore-hole, drill hole
a hole or passage made by a drill; usually made for exploratory purposes
an excavation; usually a quarry or mine
diggings, digs
an excavation for ore or precious stones or for archaeology
a long narrow excavation in the earth
excavation in the earth from which ores and minerals are extracted
excavation consisting of a vertical or sloping passageway for finding or mining ore or for ventilating a mine
pit, quarry, stone pit
a surface excavation for extracting stone or slate
an excavation that is (usually) filled with water
cellar, root cellar
an excavation where root vegetables are stored
a deep hole or shaft dug or drilled to obtain water or oil or gas or brine
working, workings
a mine or quarry that is being or has been worked
artesian well
a well drilled through impermeable strata into strata that receive water from a higher altitude so there is pressure to force the water to flow upward
chalk pit, chalkpit
a quarry for chalk
an artificial reservoir for storing liquids; especially an underground tank for storing rainwater
coal mine, coalpit
a mine where coal is dug from the ground
copper mine
a mine where copper is dug from the ground
drainage ditch
a ditch for carrying off excess water or sewage
driven well, tube well
a well made by driving a tube into the earth to a stratum that bears water
gas well
a well that yields or has yielded natural gas
gold mine, goldmine
a mine where gold ore is found
gravel pit
a quarry for gravel
irrigation ditch
a ditch to supply dry land with water artificially
oil well, oiler
a well that yields or has yielded oil
salt mine
a mine where salt is dug
shot hole
drill hole for a charge of an explosive
silver mine
a mine where silver ore is dug
strip mine
an open mine (usually for coal) where the seams run close to the surface
sulfur mine, sulphur mine
a mine where sulphur is dug from the ground
a well or other hole in which water has collected
ha-ha, haw-haw, sunk fence
a ditch with one side being a retaining wall; used to divide lands without defacing the landscape
natatorium, swimming bath, swimming pool
pool that provides a facility for swimming
a ditch dug as a fortification having a parapet of the excavated earth
any long ditch cut in the ground
wading pool
a shallow pool for children
water jump
a pool or stream in a steeplechase or similar contest
Type of:
artefact, artifact
a man-made object taken as a whole

n the act of extracting ores or coal etc from the earth

placer mining
mining valuable minerals from a placer by washing or dredging
opencast mining, strip mining
the mining of ore or coal from an open mine
Type of:
(economics) manufacturing or mining or growing something (usually in large quantities) for sale

n the site of an archeological exploration

archeological site, dig
an ancient Mediterranean seaport that was a thriving city state in Phoenicia during the second millennium BC; was the chief port for the export of papyrus; located in Lebanon to the north of Beirut; now partially excavated
Type of:
land site, site
the piece of land on which something is located (or is to be located)

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