Archaeology Minecraft: everything you need to know about how this mechanic works

Archaeology is a feature that should have arrived in Minecraft version 1.17 but will ultimately only be present in Minecraft 1.20. Archaeology in Minecraft allows players to find objects with a brush by using it on suspicious sand.

Objects found through the archaeology system can be diamond blocks, emerald blocks, sniffer eggs and ceramic shards of all colors.

pottery shard minecraft

Everything we know about archaeology in Minecraft so far

The archaeology feature will implement brand new structures in the game, presumably called archaeological sites. This structure will feature new blocks disguised as normal blocks that will hold hidden treasures.

The brush

brush minecraft
A brush for archaeology.

To unearth these buried artifacts, players will use a brand new tool called a brush. Pictured above with its recipe, this new tool is made from a feather, a copper ingot and a stick.

craft brush minecraft
The craft of the brush

Using the brush on any block will display a brushing animation, creating particles but not actually damaging the block. If you continuously brush a suspicious block of sand, a random object will slowly come out until it turns into ordinary sand, losing 1 point of durability and causing the object to fall. The player is slowed down while brushing.

Concept art of the archaeology system in Minecraft
Concept art of the archaeology system in Minecraft

Pottery shards

Brushing blocks at archaeological sites will reveal some incredible Looting, including diamond, emerald and even pottery shards.

Pottery shards have a small chance of being obtained by brushing suspect sand with a brush. The block then turns into ordinary sand, dropping one of four variants of pottery shards:

  • Archer pottery shard in desert pyramid.
  • Arms up pottery shard in desert well.
  • Prize pottery shard in desert pyramid.
  • Skull pottery shard in desert pyramid.
pattern pottery minecraft

These pottery shards can then be used to create decorative pots.

Decorated pot

A decorated pot is an ornamental block made from pottery shards or bricks.

Decorated pot minecraft
Decorated pot

Decorated pots can be broken with any tool and are mined instantly. A decorated pot drops all four of the pottery or brick chips used to make it when mined with a tool or itself if mined with bare hands or Silk Touch.

Suspicious sand

Suspicious sand minecraft
Suspicious sand

Suspicious sand is a brittle block affected by gravity found in desert pits and desert pyramids. It can be brushed off with a brush to extract structure-dependent objects, including shards of pottery. Suspicious sand will not fall if broken, and will break if dropped from a height or moved with a plunger.

Where to find Suspicious sand?

Suspicious sand forms naturally in the rooms buried under desert pyramids, as well as at the bottom of desert wells.

What to find in Suspicious sand?

You can find Suspicious sand in desert pyramids and desert wells, here are the % chances of finding each object in these structures by brushing suspicious sand from them:

  • Pyramid:
    • Archer Pottery Shard 1⁄7
    • Prize Pottery Shard 1⁄7
    • Skull Pottery Shard 1⁄7
    • Gunpowder 1⁄7
    • TNT 1⁄7
    • Diamond 1⁄7
    • Emerald 1⁄7
  • Well:
    • Raised arms Shard of pottery 3⁄7
    • Brick 1⁄7
    • Stick 1⁄7
    • Suspect stew 1⁄7
    • Emerald 1⁄7
How archaeology works in Minecraft.

When will archaeology arrive in Minecraft?

There was news about archaeology in February 2022, Mojang announced that it would be present in Minecraft 1.20.

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