How the new Elder Scrolls Online Antiquities System works

We’re two weeks into the new Greymoor chapter and the brand new Antiquities system in The Elder Scrolls Online and I feel like a lot of players are already struggling with it. It’s something very far from the usual ESO quests and adventures, but it can also be quite fun, once you get the hang of it. And by the time this article is over, you will have a hang of it.

What exactly is the Antiquities System?

Okay, so for the players who still haven’t gotten to this part, the new Antiquities System is a sort of a DLC, in which players get to play treasure hunters, looking for hidden and sacred relics and rewards all over Tamriel. Very Indiana Jones, I know. Pretty cool, right?

How does this new System work?

According to one of the game’s senior systems designers, Michael Schroeder, the idea was to create an activity like no other in the game, one that would make players want to revisit all places in Tamriel. And in my own opinion, they did just that!

The new Antiquities System - The Elder Scrolls Online

So, this game is divided into two very unique minigames: Scrying and Excavation. In Scrying, you will have to use special tools to find hidden items. And then in Excavation you actually dig up the things you find. We’re not talking of old bones and rusty gear, we’re talking collectibles, valuable treasure and very powerful mythic stuff.

The minigames are very short and entertaining and, quite honestly, perfectly scratch my childish dream of being an archaeologist. However, Scrying and Excavations aren’t the only interesting thing about this new system. I’ve always enjoyed the franchise’s storylines, and this system has quite an interesting one. I mean, players get to discover about old cultural practices and even races that went extinct a long time ago.

Are there any special collectibles?

Yes, there are! In fact, according to Schroeder, there are costumes and special adornments for those with a taste for roleplaying, new siege weapons for PvP players, new enchantments for crafters, new furnishings, and so much more.

My personal favorite is the Ebon Dwarven World. This one is scattered all over the place and you’ll have to find it piece by piece. This is a cool-looking new robotic mount.

The new Antiquities System - The Elder Scrolls Online

How and where to get started

To start off this new adventure into Tamriel’s hidden history, you’ll have to visit the Antiquarians’ Circle in Solitude. It’s right next to the Bards College. You’ll want to speak to Verida Numida, which in turn will give you the Antiquarian’s Eye tool, a tutorial quest, and some leads.

I strongly advise you to do both quests, so that you fully understand how everything works. That way, once you’re done with the first quest, you can do your own excavations, without needing any help.

What are leads?

You might have gotten a bit confused when I said Verida would give you some leads – let me explain. Leads are tips that will pinpoint a close location to a hidden relic, so you don’t have to go on pointless journeys. Once you get leads, you just have to open your Journal to the Antiquities Codex section and you’re ready to go.

How to get leads?

When you first join the Antiquarians Circle, you’ll automatically get a whole bunch of leads, all over the map. Nevertheless, you’ll find more leads when doing other quests, activities, mob drops, treasure chests and sometimes even from vendors.

Keep in mind that any leads you get will expire 30 days after you acquire them, so don’s just collect all the leads at once.


Scrying is the process of unlocking the secrets within a lead, which allows you to discover the actual dig sites within a zone. Here you will have to use a mysterious relic, the Antiquarian’s Eye tool, given to you by Verida. It’s quite easy to use and requires little to no instruction. You just need to access the Antiquities Codex section in your journal and then complete the minigame yourself.

Keep in mind that you’ll only be allowed to scry a lead if you are within its zone.

The new Antiquities System - The Elder Scrolls Online


Once Scrying is all done, you can then proceed to the excavation of the dig site. This minigame has a trick to it: there will be several dig sites, but only one will have the relic. The rest are just there to make your life a bit harder.

How to Excavate?

Well, if you’ve done the Scrying, then the possible dig sites will have a sort of glowing mound about it. Within the dig site, you’ll have to quick-slot the Antiquarian’s Eye tool and point it towards the spot you want to excavate. This tool has a cooldown of 30 seconds.

As a final note, you might be wondering if the Antiquities System benefits one type of Elder Scrolls Online player over another – like the Elsweyr chapter was for tankier characters. I can’t give you a definite answer from my personal experience. If the developers did everything right, then pretty much everyone will benefit from it: it doesn’t matter whether you are a more tanky character or a full-on healer, everyone gets to have fun with this system. Even if you are not an adventurous person to scroll the entire map on the lookout for an excavation site, you might still come across some in your path. I am still trying to figure out if that’s the case.

And that’s it! You now know everything you need to know about the Antiquities System in The Elder Scrolls Online. I hope you guys enjoy this new system, I know I do!

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Bárbara Santos

Writer by day and gamer by night. I put all my thoughts and feelings in writing about things I like, A.K.A. Gaming!
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