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Questions about digging

How far have we dug into the earth?--Anya

My teacher wanted us to find out what has been the deepest dig in the world.

Dr. dig responds:
According to my research, the deepest excavation seems to be that of ancient Troy excavated by Heinrich Schliemann in the 19th century. Homer's ancient city of Troy is located at Hissarlik in modern Turkey. Schliemann's excavations at Troy were on a massive scale; at Hissarlik, he employed engineers who applied methods used in digging the Suez Canal! In places, Schliemann's excavations reached a depth of 53 feet below the surface of the mound.

The excavation of the ancient city of Jericho in modern day Jordan comes a close second. Jericho is perhaps the oldest known city in the world; it was excavated by Kathleen Kenyon in the 1950s, whose digging in places reached a depth of fifty feet below the surface of the mound!

Archaeologists, of course, dig by hand, and they only go as deep as the layers of human activity. Archaeologists do not dig into the earth's bedrock.

However, oil speculators searching for fossil fuels dig much deeper into the earth's crust. Ocean drilling has drilled 6,926 feet into the seabed in parts of the eastern Pacific Ocean. The deepest site at which drilling has been conducted is 23,077 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.


You are wrong about the deepest dig in the world. My dad dug a site in Quito, Ecuador, that had shaft tombs that were 16.7 meters (55 feet) deep. Others have excavated looted tombs 33 meters (108 feet) deep, in Colombia. Some tombs there are said to be over 40 meters (130 feet) deep.

Dr. dig responds:
Thank you so much for telling me about your father's deep digs in Ecuador! I am sorry that my answer in dig was confusing, because I was thinking about the deepest dig through archaeological layers of earth, and didn't include in my calculation the depth of things like shafts and wells. Some of the deepest excavations in fact are underwater--that is if we measure the depth of the site below sea level! Your clever observation has got me to go back to my books to find out what archaeological excavation goes the deepest into the earth's surface, regardless of the depth of the cultural levels.


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