Game Guides

The Elder Scrolls Online – Antiquities Basics, How to Unlock Scrying and Excavating

Become Tamriel's greatest archaeologist.


If you own the new Greymoor Chapter for The Elder Scrolls Online you’ll have access to the new Antiquities mini-game, and the associated Scrying and Excavating skill-lines. You need to visit Solitude to unlock the activity and skills proper, but it takes all of five minutes to do so.

Antiquities are unlocked by visiting Verita Numida in Solitude.

There are two ways to kick off the Antiquities unlock quests in The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor – either interact with the job poster near the crafting benches in Solitude calling for all amateur antiquarians, or head to the Antiquities headquarters directly (this can be found right in front of the gates to the castle, in the last building on the left).

You’ll need to talk to Verita Numida regardless. Do so, and after some dialogue she’ll ask you to attune yourself to the Antiquarian’s Eye. It’s on the table across from her, and all you need to do is interact with it. After that she’ll send you downstairs to talk with an old friend (assuming you completed the Coldharbor questline), and you’ll be escorted through a basic scrying and excavation tutorial.


In case you missed it during the quest, you scry (I.E. locate) leads via your Journal, from the new Antiquities tab. Open your journal, navigate over to the Antiquities tab, and go to the Scryable section. This will list all the scryable leads you have for the zone you are currently in. At the start you will only be able to scry green-quality leads, but as you level the skill-line and unlock new traits you’ll be able to move up the chain. The difficulties and the what levels they unlock at are:

  • Green = Simple Difficulty (Level 1)
  • Blue = Intermediate Difficulty (Level 3)
  • Purple = Advanced Difficulty (Level 5)
  • Gold = Master Difficulty (Level 7)
  • Orange = Ultimate Difficulty (Level 10)

Excavation isn’t technically locked out by level, but you won’t be digging up purple leads if you can’t scry them. Thankfully, Scrying and Excavating seem to level up in tandem with one another if you complete a full scry-excavation loop, and the new tools you unlock in the Excavation skill-line will make those harder to obtain items less of a pain to uncover. Just scry a lead, go to the digsites you uncovered, use the Antiquarian’s Eye to locate the actual mound with the item, then use excavation to unearth it. You’ll earn yourself a new item, and gain some experience for both skill-lines. The more you dig up the faster you will level, and eventually you’ll be able to take on harder leads for better rewards.

That’s how you unlock Antiquities, Scrying, and Excavation. For the sake of brevity and ease I wrote separate guides for both Scrying and Excavating, which I recommend checking out if you need to know more about the nuances of either. The in-game tutorial does a decent job at introducing you to the basics, but sometimes you need a little more than what ESO provides.

- This article was updated on:May 27th, 2020

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