Definition of excavate in English:



  • 1Make (a hole or channel) by digging.

    ‘the cheapest way of doing this was to excavate a long trench’
    • ‘Over a number of weeks a trench was excavated in the river bed on each side of the estuary.’
    • ‘At least two of them have developed blades that allow you to use a tooth bucket for more than excavating a hole or digging a trench.’
    • ‘I made an abortive attempt to excavate a burrow today and catch one.’
    • ‘The bottom of the garden has been looking literally like a bombsite for some time, while we have been moving the patio and excavating a hole for the bog garden.’
    • ‘Cane rats also are good diggers and excavate shallow burrows as shelters.’
    • ‘We excavate a hole, put our tent inside it, and start winter camping for a few days.’
    • ‘I settle into a large sandy hole previously excavated by a turtle.’
    • ‘A newly excavated shallow pond has created greater surface water for wetland wildlife.’
    • ‘Once the street was excavated to the proper depth, a thick concrete base was poured.’
    • ‘There were no tools found in the churchyard so it is not yet clear how the hole was excavated and officers are not aware of any history of vandalism at St Martin's.’
    • ‘The massive females drag themselves well up beyond the high-tide mark and excavate a hole with their rear flippers.’
    • ‘It is common knowledge that when a hole is excavated, and then refilled with soil, settling can occur at the site.’
    • ‘Add to that a bus tour of the quarry where political prisoners excavated limestone and dug themselves a privy, and the beach where those who are now the country's leaders gathered kelp, and the value is beyond question.’
    • ‘The toad doesn't really need us to make him a home, both the spadefoot and Colorado river toad can excavate burrows almost three feet deep.’
    • ‘This had been built several years ago, when the drain tile went in, by excavating a hole and building the brick catch basin in the hole.’
    • ‘They excavate burrows in soil or use natural rock crevices, or they may use old burrows.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, a tunnel is being excavated so that guests won't have to bother themselves crossing the main road to get to the golf course.’
    • ‘Apart from cleaning out existing sites, White Paws also excavated new holes wherever the cover was good and the ground soft.’
    • ‘In their natural state wombats excavate large burrows where they will generally spend the day, coming out in the evening to feed.’
    • ‘It then backed up a bit and repeated the procedure once more, excavating another hole next to the first one, and then one more after that.’
    • ‘Each of six trenches being excavated simultaneously had its own sieve in operation.’
    dig, dig out, hollow out, scoop out, gouge, cut out, bore, burrow, tunnel, sink
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    1. 1.1 Dig out material from (the ground)
      ‘the ground was largely excavated by hand’
      • ‘That ground was largely excavated down to bed - rock to provide adequate support for the pillars that support this upper deck.’
      • ‘Mr Newman reckons they will be able to learn more about the site from the data before the ground itself is finally excavated.’
      • ‘The total quantity of ground to be excavated is 125,000 cubic yards.’
      • ‘Thirdly, we disagree with Cope that we have necessarily overestimated the volume of material that was excavated and, hence, the amount of flank uplift.’
      • ‘It is now hoped to use 100,000 tonnes of material, to be excavated during the construction of a new pier in Cromane, for building up embankments in the area.’
      • ‘In all, about 28 cubic metres of material, weighing in excess of 40 tonnes, was excavated, all by hand.’
      • ‘They've excavated the grounds for the new hospital, which should be open in about three years.’
      • ‘With the help of the county team, the society has been excavating the grounds of the Grade II-listed building on the banks of the River Chelmer, once a major medieval religious centre.’
      • ‘However, earlier this week Bloor put up temporary buildings on the site, started excavating the ground and moved building materials in.’
      • ‘The ground excavated for the foundations was shoved into the Hudson river and used to create Battery Park, a green space facing Staten Island that was yesterday swamped beneath the shattered towers.’
      • ‘The poor quality ground is being excavated adjacent to Crossflatts station and is being replaced with material capable of supporting the road.’
      • ‘The Dip site will be excavated and contaminated material put in a lined cell, before a tennis court is built on top to permanently seal the site.’
      • ‘On Wednesday afternoon the Environment Service decided to stop excavating the sports ground embankment where the suspect soil is located until Dr Jenkins had an opportunity to inspect the site.’
    2. 1.2 Extract (material) from the ground by digging.
      ‘a very large amount of gravel would be excavated to form the channel’
      • ‘The company took a portable extraction plant down to the spit and excavated the ash from the lakebed for some months.’
      • ‘With a shovel, excavate soil to create a level planting base.’
      • ‘James inefectually tried to excavate a droplet of water from his ear.’
      • ‘The group met at the Avalon Inn and the first port of call was to Delaney's Upperhills to see how the raw material was excavated for Ormonde Brick.’
      • ‘Wheel loaders offer the best bet for contractors who need to excavate rock, minerals, and soil or to load and carry materials.’
      • ‘They're used in tight spaces to excavate water, sewer, and gas lines; to install septic tanks; and to handle landscaping and loading tasks, among other uses.’
      • ‘TV bosses, believed to be from the US arm of the station, have contacted the NUM seeking permission to excavate the grounds.’
      • ‘Scarlet macaws, blue and gold macaws, and hosts of smaller birds perch together in their hundreds to excavate the best clay layer along a riverbank.’
      • ‘These are people working with hoses and shorthandled shovels and picks, and then they excavate all of that burning material and they just keep moving around the perimeter.’
      • ‘They've also had problems with Intergen (the firm that wants to excavate underground gas caverns near Aldbrough).’
      • ‘To do this, a chalk mine was excavated to provide raw material for road foundations and plasterwork in the houses.’
      • ‘Then, with the distal part of the tube anchored in a point at the base of the probe, it most likely moved most of the upper part of the tube by laterally excavating the sediments and backfilling the original tube behind.’
      • ‘In the area near Shepherd's Island, extensive regions of the clay are excavated by fish in the late summer and fall, when the clay is rich with large Axarus larvae.’
      • ‘Soil texture won't change unless you literally excavate your soil and replace it.’
      • ‘I could say that the ground was soft enough to be excavated to an even greater depth using a spade only.’
      • ‘Then it's off to the shores where the material excavated from the construction of subways and skyscraper was piled along the edge of the island.’
  • 2Remove earth carefully and systematically from (an area) in order to find buried remains.

    • ‘Now, archaeologist A.K. Sharma is excavating the area that is believed to be the palace of Balaarjuna.’
    • ‘Together with the workers, they used spiders and excavated the ammunition, moving it to a safe place.’
    • ‘In this year an amateur archaeologist carefully excavated the original site of the house and located the chimney foundation (Robbins).’
    • ‘Any excavated objects must be recorded, documented in published materials, and moved to new locations if necessary.’
    • ‘The entire root systems for all 41 plants in the sealed room were carefully excavated on 25-26 Mar.2002.’
    • ‘Years ago, they excavated this area at the base of the bridge and found evidence that human beings found shelter here 12,000 years ago.’
    • ‘Mrs Rodgers, and her late husband Jimmy, lived in 41 Rodney Drive, diagonally across from the two houses where the police excavated ground floors and back gardens.’
    • ‘Lt Cmdr Chartier lead a team of five army, navy and air force forensic and archaeological personnel to the island on August 24 to excavate an area believed to be the sailor's resting place.’
    • ‘Archaeologists excavating the site at Ilminster have identified the intricate, coloured stone floor as stemming from the Cirencester-based Corinian school.’
    • ‘All of these archaeological sites would need to be excavated before ground could be broken for that part of the M3.’
    • ‘Geraldton City Council has discovered asbestos behind its Civic Centre and has begun excavating the area to remove the dangerous material.’
    • ‘Archaeologists set off for the place and explored and excavated the area to find out more about the gold and silver utensils.’
    • ‘A group of Japanese archeologists plans to excavate an archaeological site in central Afghanistan that may have been an important center of Buddhism.’
    • ‘Lynn will receive training so she can excavate sites, remove fossils and artifacts, and carefully map the finds.’
    • ‘Few plant remains have been recovered from any of the previously excavated sites, including the Millville type site east of Prairie du Chien along the Wisconsin River.’
    • ‘The team have also been excavating areas of the site that could not be saved from the sea and, in the course of their excavations, came across three burials lying next to the Priory church.’
    • ‘Now archaeologists excavating a development site at the Kilima Hotel, on Holgate Road, have discovered a human skeleton wearing hob-nail boots.’
    • ‘Pickton was arrested last year and his committal hearing resumes on June 30 after a recess, while police continue excavating the grounds of his 4,5-hectare farm.’
    • ‘In the last five years, the Richland Archaeological Project has excavated several sites in what is called the Richland complex.’
    • ‘Under a vast clear plastic shelter, green lawns are being eaten away by an expanding quarry as archaeologist Klaus Dreger excavates the site for ancient ruins believed to have underlain the 13 th century church.’
    1. 2.1 Reveal or extract (buried remains) by carefully removing earth.
      ‘clothing and weapons were excavated from the burial site’
      • ‘Curses were routinely used as a deterrent against tomb raiders in ancient Egypt, as the Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter discovered when excavating Tutankhamun's burial chamber.’
      • ‘Geoff Arnott, 26, and Adam Wright, 32, are seeking permission to excavate the remains of the 50-tonne plane which has been found on private land near Easingwold.’
      • ‘Nothing so grandiose has been confirmed by actual or excavated remains of religious architecture.’
      • ‘When earth-moving works were carried out on the slopes of Mont Boron to the north-west of the Grotte, a Lower Palaeolithic encampment was revealed and excavated.’
      • ‘At Repton in Derbyshire, a few burials were excavated around the crypt of St Wystan's church.’
      • ‘In 1784, he excavated a burial mound on his estate in Virginia in order to establish its age and cultural affinities.’
      • ‘A team from the Oxford Archaeological Unit was engaged to excavate and reveal the archaeology for a public audience.’
      • ‘Ever since the 3000-seat amphitheatre was excavated to reveal room for 8000, archaeologists are continually surprised by what they find.’
      • ‘Archaeologists are excavating the remains of an important 17th century iron-smelting furnace that was almost lost forever.’
      • ‘In 1984 his bones were painstakingly excavated to reveal a species on the brink of becoming human.’
      • ‘He also presents Meet The Ancestors in which excavated human remains are given a face and a life story through modern scientific techniques.’
      • ‘So that the Tower Street edge is well defined, for instance, the footings of the Victorian prison walls which survive below ground could be excavated and exposed.’
      • ‘Archaeologists excavated the remains of 23 men, women and infants from the tombs.’
      • ‘The great mud brick fortresses that preceded the mud brick churches and monasteries of the Christian era could not be moved; many were excavated and recorded in detail at this time.’
      • ‘A small amount of animal remains was excavated.’
      • ‘Since the eighteenth century, it has been possible not only to excavate the remarkable remains beneath the lava flows, but also to appropriate the amazing findings concerning Roman bourgeois life and decoration into modernity.’
      • ‘Archaeologists first began excavating the remains of a 1,000-year-old castle located on the site in 1936.’
      • ‘The seven monolithic churches were excavated out of the ground and are surrounded by trenches and courtyards with graves and hermit cells cut into the inner cliff face.’
      • ‘Some years later he was able to locate and begin excavating the remains of Belize's most substantial pirate settlement.’
      • ‘In six weeks, they excavated the remains of a home, which had been carbonized from the extreme heat of the volcanic eruption.’
      unearth, dig up, bring out of the ground, bring to the surface, uncover, reveal
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Late 16th century: from Latin excavat- ‘hollowed out’, from the verb excavare, from ex- ‘out’ + cavare ‘make or become hollow’ (from cavus ‘hollow’).