What is Excavation?

Though most people probably already know the answer, knowledge is power, and so if you've ever asked the question "What is excavation, anyway?", you're about to get an education! Excavation, or digging a hole in the ground as most people refer to it, has been around since the first human buried something millions of years ago. If you've ever made a fort or mud-pie as a kid, you already know what excavation is. It seems that the urge to excavate is almost a universal compulsion, perhaps stemming from evolutionary imperatives. However, excavation has evolved, just like humans, so that, rather than excavating out of evolutionary necessity, we do it to manipulate our environment, and make life easier.

"What is excavation?" is like asking "What's water?". While there is a specific definition (Digging a hole & removing the resulting debris), there is also a broader sense of the term. For instance, there are many methods of excavation, including traditional, soil or rock based deep excavation, vacuum-aided excavation, and even excavation through the use of high explosives, such as dynamite.

Excavation is also a utilitarian function. Have you ever had a pool installed in your back yard? The hole the contractors dug is an example of excavation at work. The same thing may be said for cellars, dams, and other structures which necessitate partial burial in the Earth.

Furthermore, excavation is a medical term. In this capacity, it involves the removal of fat or other types of unwanted or unneeded tissue, including tumors and the like.

In asking "What is excavation?", it is perhaps helpful to add a bit of historical perspective. If not for the recent invention of dynamite, the U.S. might look markedly different than it does today! Manifest Destiny was in full swing during the 1800s, and America's rapid growth and expansion was heavy aided by the use of excavation helped along by explosives. In fact, the human drive to expand and consume is one of the primary reasons excavation exists. Ever since the first human buried something for safekeeping, we have used excavation for our benefit.

The point of such things isn't to bore you with an unwanted historical lecture, but to show you that there is scarcely an area of life untouched by excavation. Now that you've finished reading this article, you will hopefully know a bit more than when you started, and hopefully, you'll never need to ask "What is excavation?" again.

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