Minecraft update 1.20 lets you dig more gently as archeology arrives

Minecraft update 1.20 adds Archeology to the open-world sandbox game, letting you dig for ancient historical treasures and rebuild them to decorate your base.

Minecraft update 1.20 - Archeology - two pots stacked atop one another by a desert temple. The top one has a painted design of a skeleton, while the bottom features a person with their arms raised. A black cat sits on a step next to them.

As the Minecraft update 1.20 release date gets closer, developer Mojang unveils the latest new feature coming in its next major patch. Archeology seems like such a natural fit for Minecraft that we’re almost shocked it hasn’t made its way into one of the best sandbox games on PC before now, but that’s all set to change soon.

There’s perhaps no activity more synonymous with Minecraft than digging. It’s right there in the name, after all. But Minecraft mining has always been a largely destructive process, bashing through the earth and hollowing out entire cave networks as you scour to find Minecraft diamonds and other precious resources. Even the best Minecraft mods tend to lean in the direction of even grander-scale operations, mining entire quarries and carving out huge tracts of land.

Minecraft archeology, then, offers the perfect opportunity to dig in a much more nuanced fashion; embracing the care and delicacy required to uncover precious treasures hidden underground. Initially, Mojang says, archeological dig sites will be restricted to the deserts – primarily located near desert temples – but more will be added over time.

As you explore, you’ll come across new ‘suspicious sand’ blocks, which you’ll need to approach with a light touch if you want to extract the ancient secrets buried within. In order to do so, you’ll use a new tool – the Minecraft brush – that allows you to carefully etch away the surrounding material and get your hands on the goodies. These can be a wide range of random objects, but Mojang highlights pottery shards in particular.

Minecraft update 1.20 - Archeology - several brown pots with paianted designs of a skeleton and diamond on their sides, stacked in the desert by a temple

Upon getting your hands on a pottery shard, you’ll notice patterns painted upon it. If you manage to collect four shards, you’ll be able to reconstruct them into a fully formed decorative pot that can then be placed down to spruce up your best Minecraft builds with some historical flavour. There are a range of designs to collect, so keep your eyes peeled!

All in all, becoming a Minecraft archeologist sounds like a fun way to vary up the exploration and discovery in Minecraft 1.20. Hopefully Mojang will bury even more cool secrets under the sands for players to discover. If you just can’t wait until the full release, Mojang promises that you’ll be able to test out these features in Minecraft betas and snapshots “very soon.”

Take a look at the best Minecraft seeds in 2023 to set yourself up with the perfect world to start excavating. While we wait for archeology to arrive, discover how to find Minecraft bees and harvest honey from them, or learn about the Minecraft sniffer, the newest creature coming to one of the best open-world games after winning the 2022 mob vote.