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Raul Jimenez
Senior Project Manager
Asked a question last year

What is deadmen or tell-tales in excavation?

What is deadmen or tell-tales in excavation?

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  • When the ground is fairly uniform ‘Deadman” or “Tell-Tales” which shall be left at suitable intervals to determine the average depth of excavation.
  • For uneven or sloping ground, diagonal ‘Tell-Tales’ shall be left.
  • No deduction shall be made for Deadman, Tell-Tales which shall be removed after the measurements have been taken and checking has been completed.

Deadmen and tell tales are different from each other. Deadmen are wooden, or bamboo posts or poles set up on continuing excavation to have a rough idea of the excavation depth at some point in time. The position is randomly picked or chosen carefully, where the depth is close to average. Now, measuring the depth of the Deadman from the ground level, we can get to know the rough average excavation depth.

Telltales are unexcavated patches left on the excavation. Measuring the height of the telltales from the bottom will give us the average depth of excavation.

Jayden Adams
Construction Assistant
  • In the construction point of view, deadman is totally related to heavyweight, especially a mass concrete block.
  • Deadman is used to provide strong support, or we can say resistance to a load.
  • Actually, such type of blocks is embedded firmly in the soil, whereas some blocks are resting on the surface of the ground.
  •  This is used for temporary and permanent construction applications including the retaining wall design.
  • In the case of the trenchless construction industry, the deadman anchors provide a reactive force during pipe jacking procedures.
  • Unexcavated patches are nothing but the telltale left on the excavation.

   Thanking You.

Basically in construction, deadmen refers to a heavy weight, typically a mass concrete block used to provide support or resistance to a load. These blocks are usually embedded firmly in soil, however some blocks may simply rest on the ground surface.

A deadmen also referred to as a jacking lug.