Minecraft: How To Find An Ancient City – TheGamer

Discovering an Ancient City in Minecraft isn’t easy, so we’re here to help with this addition in the 1.19 update.The 1.19 Wild Update for Minecraft added many new features to the game, many of which …

Discovering an Ancient City in Minecraft isn’t easy, so we’re here to help with this addition in the 1.19 update.
The 1.19 Wild Update for Minecraft added many new features to the game, many of which are centred around the Deep Dark biome. As the name suggests, this spooky area generates deep underground, and is most notable for the vast, yet uncommon, Ancient Cities it contains.
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Though very rare, the Ancient Cities contain numerous exclusive items, so hunting one down and braving the challenge of entering is well worth the risk. Half the battle is getting there in the first place, but fortunately this guide has everything you need to track down and enter the elusive Ancient City.
The Deep Dark biome is a biome that generates deep underground and is characterised by having no natural lightning whatsoever, while largely being made up of the new sculk blocks. This biome is the only place where Ancient Cities can generate.
Finding a Deep Dark biome is the first step in finding an Ancient City, so it's important to be able to recognise when you're in one. Deep Dark biomes generate around Y level -52, so head down to that level and start mining or caving until you see sculk.
Once you find a Deep Dark biome, be careful – Warden spawning isn't limited to Ancient Cities. Setting off a Sculk Shrieker anywhere in the Deep Dark can summon a Warden, so be aware of the noises you're making and keep well clear of any Sculk Sensors or Shriekers.
Ancient Cities are a new type of structure that generate within the Deep Dark. They're very rare, so not every Deep Dark biome will contain an Ancient City. Furthermore, being underground makes them tricky to find — rare above-ground structures like Woodland Mansions can at least be spotted from far away, but you won't really know you've come across an Ancient City until you're actually standing in it.
Ancient Cities occupy massive, Sculk-lined caverns, and are composed primarily of deepslate. The cities are lit with soul lanterns and the occasional torch, though unlit candles can also be spotted around the structures. Dark oak planks are used for some structures, and wool can also be seen on builds around the city.
While the exact makeup of each Ancient City will vary, much like rooms inside a Stronghold or Ocean Monument, the centrepiece will always be a large structure in the centre resembling a portal, made of reinforced deepslate. At the time of writing, this portal cannot be activated in any way, so it doesn't lead anywhere. The portal area is surrounded by two large walls, and has an altar-like area with candles in front of it. A sort of main road, covered by a tunnel, runs from the edge of the city to the portal.
In spite of the dead portal, Ancient Cities are desirable due to the exclusive loot they contain, as well as providing easy access to Sculk blocks. Sculk's benefits are twofold – Sculk Catalysts introduce new and exciting ways to farm and store XP, while Sculk Sensors enable the creation of wireless redstone contraptions. These alone would provide strong incentives to seek out the Deep Dark, but the riches stored within Ancient Cities' chests make it even better.
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Ancient Cities are littered with chests containing valuables. All of the regular end-game loot you'd expect to see can be found — enchanted armour, horse armour, golden apples (Ancient Cities actually have a higher-than-normal spawn rate for enchanted golden apples), books, bones, 13, and cats. You can even find bottles o' enchanting!
There's also Ancient City-specific loot. Lots of Sculk items can be found, and you'll also be able to grab atmospheric soul torches and snowballs you can use to distract an attacking Warden.
Lastly, there's the exclusive loot. This is the main reason to come looking for an Ancient City, and there's plenty of exciting stuff that can't be found anywhere else. Firstly, among all the other enchanted books you can find, there are Swift Sneak books. This new enchantment goes up to level 3, and is Minecraft's first leggings-exclusive enchantment. It increases your movement speed when sneaking — useful for quickly navigating around Sculk Sensors in a quiet manner, as well as building without falling off things.
You can also find echo shards, which can be used to craft the new recovery compass. Unlike a regular compass, this handy item points to the location of your last death, making it easier to go and find the possessions you dropped upon perishing.
Lastly, there are music disc shards. Collect nine of these and you can craft the music disc "5" – a spooky, "11"-like disc that appears to be audio of a player activating some kind of portal, before the Warden arrives and ruins their plans.
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Unlike other rare structures which have special maps leading to them, such as the Ocean Monument or Woodland Mansion, or the Strongholds, which can be located using Eyes of Ender, there is no direct way to locate an Ancient City in-game. All you can really do is head down to a Y-level of negative 52, mine or cave until you find a Deep Dark biome, then hope it has an Ancient City in it.
If you're mining, branch mining will give you the best chance of finding a city. It's also noteworthy that Ancient Cities generate more frequently under the mountain biomes introduced in 1.18, so travelling to one of those could make for a good starting point. Once underground, you can use the F3 screen to ensure you're still underneath the mountains.
If you're playing with cheats on, you can use the /locate command to find an Ancient City. The full command "/locate structure minecraft:ancient_city" will return co-ordinates for an Ancient City, allowing you to easily find out where to make a beeline for.
Lastly, if you don't have cheats on, but know your world's seed and just want the co-ordinates of the nearest Ancient City, Chunkbase has an Ancient City finder tool you can use (along with tools to find pretty much anything else you could ever need). Simply set the tool to the correct version of Minecraft, put in your seed, and the map will show you all the Ancient Cities within your world and their co-ordinates.
Once you've found an Ancient City, you'll want to get your hands on all that exciting loot. However, Ancient Cities are packed with Sculk Shriekers that summon the terrifying Warden, as well as Sculk Sensors that can trigger the Shriekers from even further away. It's key that you avoid activating these, as once the Warden is summoned, all you can do is run.
Sculk blocks are activated by noise, so to avoid making any while you move, stay crouched. Similarly, opening a chest produces sound, but you can surround yourself and the chest with wool to avoid triggering any Sculk. Wool dampens sound, meaning any vibrations produced by chests (or anything else) cannot travel through the wool to actviate any Sculk, so you can safely open chests.
Placing and destroying blocks also makes noise, but wool is the exception to this. If you need to pillar up anywhere, use wool to avoid the risk of Shriekers going off. Essentially, just bring plenty of wool and you should be able to explore the Ancient Cities safely.
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Matthew is a freelance writer for TheGamer, in addition to being a law student. Based in the UK, he has been gaming for as long as he can remember and in his free time he enjoys Minecraft, Pokémon, Apex Legends, and countless other games.