Archeology is making a comeback with the Minecraft 1.20 update

Screenshot of the archeology feature set in Minecraft 1.20.
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

What you need to know

  • The next major Minecraft update is the still-unnamed 1.20 release, coming later this year.
  • On Friday, Mojang Studios announced the latest feature to join the Minecraft 1.20 update.
  • The archeology feature set is finally leaving delay purgatory, and has been revealed in all its redesigned glory.
  • Archeology in Minecraft includes new blocks, mechanics, and a brand-new tool with the brush.

Those heavily invested in the Minecraft universe may hold onto bittersweet memories of archeology, an ambitious set of features and mechanics that was initially announced years ago, then subsequently delayed twice until it seemingly vanished into the ether. On Friday, Mojang Studios revealed that archeology is far from dead, and it's closer than we think.

Archeology is officially coming to players alongside the Minecraft 1.20 update, bringing with it new mechanics, blocks, tools, and more. Originally announced alongside the massive Caves & Cliffs Update, archeology was indefinitely delayed, with no clear indication that it would ever return. Now, we know that archeology was simply spending some much-needed time being redesigned and tweaked.

Screenshot of the archeology feature set in Minecraft 1.20.

Archeology brings a new tool and decorative pots. (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Archeology gives Minecraft players another reason to explore the desert biome, perhaps on the back of their trusty Camel mob. Surrounding Desert Temples may be patches of suspicious sand blocks, which can be swept away using the new brush tool to reveal hidden tools and tools. Players can also discover elusive Sniffer eggs, which can hatch into the brand-new Sniffer mob, as well as new pottery shards. Pottery shards contain partial patterns, and players can combine four of these pottery shards into a unique, decorative pot.

Players won't have long to wait to try archeology out for themselves, too. Mojang Studios announced alongside the feature reveal that the first in-game iteration of archeology is arriving in a Minecraft: Java Edition snapshot and Minecraft Preview build on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. That's right around the corner!

Minecraft is already one of the best games on Xbox, but the Minecraft 1.20 update will make it so much better with a ton of new features. In case you missed it, Mojang Studios also recently released the Minecraft: Bedrock Edition 1.19.60 patch update, which includes over 70 bug fixes and improvements. You can see more images of archeology in action below.

Windows Central's take

I'm ecstatic that archeology is still alive and is finally coming to Minecraft in its next major content update, and that it looks so much better and more polished than in its initial screenshots. It seems to be a solid addition that makes exploring deserts more worthwhile. Still, archeology has presumably been in the works for at least two years, and it's not exactly the largest feature ever added to Minecraft.

I'm happy to see the feature, but I'm aware that its announcement may contribute to the ongoing community mentality that Minecraft updates and new features take far too long to develop and release. The Minecraft 1.20 update is slowly expanding into a sizeable release, but it'll still likely come a full year after the arrival of The Wild Update, which itself wasn't the most innovative Minecraft content update. Is Minecraft evolving too slowly to keep pace in the modern video games industry?

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.