How to find an Ancient City in Minecraft: tips, seeds and more

You need to know how to find a Minecraft Ancient City if you want to battle a Warden, so here are tips, tricks, and some seeds where they’re easy to find

How to find a Minecraft Ancient City

Wondering how to find a Minecraft Ancient City? Sadly, they can be very elusive, but once you know what you’re looking for and where, it’s a lot easier to dig up this marvellous metropolis. Ancient Cities are spectacular structures buried deep below ground – one of the first underground monuments except for Strongholds, in fact – so now you’ve got something to look out for while you’re digging for diamonds in Minecraft.

Be wary though, because Ancient Cities hold a dangerous mob within their walls – the Warden. This blind but brutal creature is the toughest foe in Minecraft history, but it guards some exciting loot. Here’s what you need to know about how to find a Minecraft Ancient City, what to expect when you get there, and some of the best Ancient City seeds if you want to skip the hard part.

Minecraft Ancient City: A view of an Ancient City from above

How to find an Ancient City in Minecraft

The first thing to know is that, unlike Ocean Monuments and Wooden Mansions, there is no Ancient City map to find or buy in Minecraft. This time, the work is all on you. The best you can do to narrow down your search is know where to look and what signs to look out for.

Despite their terrifying nature, Ancient Cities are located in the overworld, so you don’t even need to go to the Nether to get your scares. This means, contrary to popular belief, no Ancient City portal is required to get there, and you can start looking for one right away (if you’re brave enough). Instead, the underground structures are only found in the Deep Dark biome, which is far below the depths of the surface. You’ll know you’re in a Deep Dark biome from the presence of black and turquoise Sculk items, such as Sculk Veins and Sculk blocks, as they only generate in this underground-exclusive biome.

Ancient Cities also only generate on Y-level -51, so our recommendation for finding the Warden’s home is to mine on that level, paying special attention if and when you spot Sculk blocks. This way you’re not wasting any time, as it’s the best level for finding both diamonds and Ancient Cities.

Minecraft Ancient City: An Ancient City intersecting with a Stronghold, with the End Portal in view

Best Minecraft Ancient City seeds

Here are three of the best seeds to play on if you want to start a new world with an Ancient City nearby.

Ancient City near spawn

  • 2265063769536625355: If you just want an Ancient City that’s quick and easy to find, then this seed is a great place to start. Not only is there an Ancient City close to the spawn point, but there is also a dungeon with a spider spawner and two chests directly beneath you at spawn. For the Ancient City, simply mine east from spawn to X=86, Z=10.

Ancient City with a mineshaft and Lush Cave

  • 8897873426518916880: This Ancient City is slightly further from spawn, but still very close, while being almost adjacent to a large and lovely lush cave. Head southwest to coordinates -130, 387 for the city, with the lush cave slightly further along at -176, 489. Directly above the Ancient City is a mineshaft with even more loot to collect.

Ancient City with a Stronghold and mineshaft

  • -6542427500181432213: For those who like to get to The End, Reddit user Jereaux found the perfect Ancient City seed. While you have to travel about a thousand blocks from spawn to find it (-1036, 1124), a Stronghold generates within an Ancient City, with the portal room directly in front of the central structure.

Ancient Cities explained

Ancient Cities are unlike any other structure in Minecraft, right down to their naturally-generated redstone contraptions – only otherwise found in Jungle Temples. There’s a lot to explore when you do eventually find one, and it probably took you a while to get there, so make the most of it. Familiarise yourself with everything you need to know about these strange and hallowed halls before you go, and keep your eyes and ears out for the Warden. Here are the key things to look out for as you explore:

  • The Warden central statue: Marking the centre of the Ancient City is a gigantic statue, depicting the face of the Warden with new Reinforced Deepslate blocks. Reinforced Deepslate looks cool but sadly can’t be mined, and this is the only place it generates. While this central monument may look like an Ancient City portal, it won’t transport you anywhere, but does stand above a secret redstone door.
  • Secret redstone room: In front of the central monument you’ll either find a loot chest with a golden carrot or apple inside, or a Chiseled Deepslate bridge – these are the triggers to opening a secret redstone door. Walking over the bridge or munching on the gilded food triggers a Sculk sensor beneath your feet, and you should hear the door open behind you. Head inside for a little lesson in redstone contraptions.
  • Ice boxes: Ice boxes are small rooms located off the long halls of the Ancient City and are obvious from the presence of ice blocks on top. They’re worth investigating, as a loot chest is hidden beneath its trapdoor. Simply trigger the right pressure plate to open it. Trigger the wrong pressure plate, though, and you might anger the Warden as Note Blocks chime.
  • Blocks: While you can’t gather the new Deepslate variant, there are lots of other interesting and unique blocks to collect during your time in an Ancient City. Soul Sand generates in Ancient Cities – the only place outside of the Nether – as its glittering blue flame lights the city. You can also gather candles and even Skeleton mob heads from the city ruins around you, while the floors are lined with carpet and wool blocks to soften your footsteps, preventing them from triggering Sculk Sensors.

Minecraft Ancient City: A chest sat in isolation

Ancient City loot

Multiple loot chests generate in Minecraft’s Ancient Cities, and – with the exception of the ice boxes – are all clearly visible and easy to get to. A lot of interesting and useful items can be found in these chests, including Snowballs (throw one to send a Warden rambling in the other direction), Echo Shards (used to craft a Recovery Compass) and Music Disk Fragments(can be placed in a Crafting Table to make a full record). Both Echo Shards and Music Disk Fragments are exclusive to Ancient City chests.

All items that can be found in Ancient City chests:

  • Amethyst Shard
  • Baked Potato
  • Bone
  • Book
  • Bottle O’ Enchanting
  • Candle
  • Coal
  • Compass
  • Damaged Enchanted Diamond Hoe
  • Disk Fragment (5)
  • Echo Shard
  • Enchanted Book
  • Enchanted Diamond Leggings
  • Enchanted Golden Apple
  • Enchanted Horse Armour
  • Enchanted Iron Leggings
  • Glow Berries
  • Gold Carrot
  • Lead
  • Music Disk (otherside, 13, or cat)
  • Name Tag
  • Packed Ice
  • Potion of Healing
  • Potion of Regeneration
  • Saddle
  • Sculk
  • Sculk Catalyst
  • Sculk Sensor
  • Snowball
  • Soul Torch
  • Suspicious Stew

Minecraft Ancient City: A Warden looking at the player

The Warden

The main feature of Minecraft’s Ancient Cities is the deadly Warden mob. We have a separate guide on the Minecraft Warden, with full details of how to spawn, avoid, or fight the creature. In short, though, just be careful where you tread when roaming the Ancient City, and keep an ear or eye out for the monster emerging from the ground if you trigger nearby Sculk Sensors too many times. If you do anger the Warden, you’re best to stay still and quiet until it goes away – attacking the mob is more likely to end in your demise than its own.

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Now you know everything there is to know about Minecraft Ancient Cities and the secrets hidden within the Deep Dark, sharpen that pickaxe and get mining. To increase your chances of survival, we’d recommend using your Minecraft brewing stand and equipping some of the best enchantments. Good luck down there – you’re going to need it.