Antiquites is a system made up of three components: leads, scrying and excavation. These activities are used to find items such as furnishings, style pages, treasures or components to build larger items such as mythic gear or crafting stations. In order to use this system you will need to have access to the Greymoor expansion. If you have not purchased the chapter previously, but have an ESO+ subscription, Greymoor and the antiquity system will be available to you.
HOW TO BEGIN
To start your scrying and excavation adventures, head to the city of Solitude located in Western Skyrim, you will first complete the antiquities tutorial located in the Antiquarian Circle. This will unlock the ability to scry and excavate. This is also where you will get your “Antiquarian Eye” tool which is discussed further below.
It is important to note that each character will need to do the introductory quest in order to begin scrying and excavating, but leads are account wide so finding a lead on another character will be available for all others. The system will also need to be leveled individually per character which can be tedious. For this reason we personally have one character that can hunt antiquities at the maximum level.
Leads can be discovered a number of different ways in the game, including:
Defeating world bosses
Defeating final bosses in group dungeons
Completing world events
Looting containers, Thieves Troves, Treasure Chests
Completing your daily writs
Harvesting resources and fishing
Talking to your Shadowy Supplier
Leads can be acquired even if you don’t have the antiquity system unlocked so you may start getting leads before you even jump in. If you are on PC, to help you track down leads we recommend using the Display Leads addon.
If you open your journal and click on the Antiquities tab, you can quickly look at what leads are scryable in your current zone, all active scryable leads across all zones, as well as a complete list of all previously discovered leads for all zones. Once you have entered a zone with a lead, you will first need to scry it. It doesn't matter where in the zone you are to scry, personally we like to do it near a Wayshrine so we can quickly move to the dig site when we find it. To scry you'll start by opening up your journal and going to the Antiquities tab. Here you'll see an option to view “Scryable” in the current zone. Select the item you wish to scry and begin. Your antiquarian eye will open up and has a number of swirling facets. The goal is to select matching nodes to connect the facets in as few moves as possible. As you level up your scrying you'll also have a variety of different abilities to use which can be unlocked from the Scrying skill line.
Coalescence: converts nodes in a hexagon shape to matching symbols
Dilation: connects matching nodes touching any of the areas you currently control, and
Farsight: will connect all nodes in a line
Farsight is our favorite ability to use, because at max level you can easily connect each node in one click. Based on how many of the facets you connect will determine how many possible dig site locations will appear on your map. The more facets you connect, the more narrowed your search is. Connecting all facets will narrow the area to one single location.
Now that you have an idea of where to search, the next step is to locate the dig site. If you open up your "Tools” section under Collections, you'll see the "Antiquarian Eye" which is an item that will help you locate the dig site within the area found by scrying. We like to add it to our quick slots for efficiency's sake, but it is not necessary. When you active the tool, a little blue comet will appear in front of you, the TAIL of the comet is the direction of the dig site, and the tool can be used any number of times, though it does have a cooldown timer of 30 seconds. After you find your dig site you will begin excavating the item.
There are 4 tools to work with, the Eye, the Brush, the Trowel and the Shovel:
Eye: helps you locate the precise location of the antiquity in the dig site
Brush: removes a single square and single level of dirt and charges your power gauge
Trowel: clears multiple levels of a single square depending on your skill level and power gauge
Shovel: clears a 3x3 square up to 2 layers based on the power gauge
When using the Eye, each click will give you a different color highlight. Red means you are 5+ squares away from the treasure, Orange means you are within 4 squares, Yellow means you are within 2, and Green means you are right on target. Just like Scrying, Excavation has a skill line you can level up to make it easier to dig up the item.
To recover the item you must completely reveal it, but there is a soft timer. This timer decreases for every action you take outside of using the Eye to locate the item initially. If you break or don't uncover it in time you will be able to try again but you'll have to relocate the dig site again which will be located in the same area you are currently in. If you manage to uncover the antiquity and still have remaining time you can use this time to uncover up to 3 additional treasures, ranging from gear, to crafting materials to treasures.
Depending on the level of the lead, there may also be smoking tiles on site. These tiles are explosive if dug all the way down. To properly use these you will need to form a path connecting the smoking tiles. You must also make sure they are on the same level of dirt. The trick to knowing if they line up is to take your trowel and hover over one of them. A blue segment will appear and show you the path that is currently connected. Once they are connected you can use a fully charged trowel to detonate them. Detonating the smoking tiles will create a clear path all the way to the bottom level and may help you uncover some bonus treasures.
We suggest digging up the antiquity first so you don't accidently break it during an explosion or use all your time before fully recovering the antiquity.