The design of complex underground structures in an urban environment requires in the first instance an appropriate characterization and interpretation of the ground conditions and of the mechanical behaviour of soil formations in the ground profile. With such information it is then possible to select and calibrate appropriate soil constitutive models for application in advanced numerical analysis, with the objective of predicting the induced ground movements and the potential damage to existing structures and services. This paper provides an interpretation of the site investigation data collected for the numerical analysis and design of the Ivens shaft excavation in Lisbon, Portugal. For the first time a comprehensive set of interpreted data is obtained for two of the main formations in the Lisbon area, Argilas e Calcários dos Prazeres (AP) and Areolas da Estefânia (AE), improving the understanding of their mechanical behaviour and making the data available for application in most soil constitutive frameworks. It is evident from the results that even with careful testing procedures the data may appear to be inconsistent, requiring further assumptions when deriving soil parameters. Such assumptions are discussed and emphasis is placed on the need to combine data from laboratory and field investigations.