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How to Find an Ancient City in Minecraft Java Edition

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Greppi's Avatar Greppi
Level 41 : Master Musician
Edit: it seems this is not possible on many servers, so this tutorial may only work in singleplayer

Guys, I have spent a long time trying to figure out the generation patterns for ancient cities in Minecraft. I researched a little bit about Minecraft generation on the wiki, and then spent hours on different Minecraft worlds seeing how it relates to ancient city generation, and I have finally found a pattern with how they generate! So here are the steps that I have found that will help you find an ancient city based on the surface terrain generation and a certain value in the F3 menu...

Step 1:
From spawn, check the erosion change in each cardinal direction (north, south, east, west) across the distance of about 200-250 blocks away from spawn. If you spawned in one of the mountain biomes (grove, snow-capped mountains, stony mountains, meadow, savanna plateau), skip steps 1-3 and go to step 4. You can see the name of the biome you're in using the F3 menu. And remember, just because you are on a really big hill, that doesn't mean that you're in a mountain biome.

On the F3 menu, you can check the erosion value where you're standing by finding where it says "NoiseRouter" and then following the line to the right until you see the part that says "E:" The erosion value will be to the right of the E:

The erosion value should start with "0." or "-0." Be careful not to get it confused with the other E: value below it that usually starts with a number above 0.
How to Find an Ancient City in Minecraft Java Edition

Step 2:
If the erosion value constantly goes up, it is the wrong direction, try again in a different direction from spawn.
If the erosion value constantly goes down and leads to an ocean, try again in a different direction from spawn.
If the erosion value constantly goes down and leads to a mountain biome (grove, snow-capped mountains, stony mountains, meadow, savanna plateau) skip step 3 and move onto step 4.
If the erosion value remains fairly constant (stays within about -0.070 to +0.070 of what it was at spawn), this is the correct direction, keep going that way for another 400 blocks (you will end up about 600 blocks away from spawn).

Step 3:
Check the directions for erosion value again (but you do not need to check the direction that leads back to spawn). This time, find the two directions that cause the erosion value to go down the most, and then travel diagonally between the two until you reach any of the mountain biomes. The mountains may not be exactly along the line you're traveling in, but if you see one of the mountain biomes (and not just a big hill), go to it.

Step 4:
Once you reach any of the mountain biomes, go a little further into it (15-30 blocks in), and then dig down until you reach a cave with sculk in it.
If you reach bedrock, go back up and try again in a slightly different spot, but still in the same biome.

Step 5:
Explore the deep dark biome caves until you find an ancient city. Ancient cities will be between y= -52 and y= -32. I would also recommend marking in some way the cave paths that you have already explored (such as lighting them up with torches).
It is likely that there will be an ancient city connected to those caves, but if no city is found after exploring as many nearby deep dark caves as possible, go back to the surface, travel about two thousand blocks (in any direction that does not go back towards spawn), and then start again from step one (although instead of doing it from spawn, do it from the point you have now traveled to).

There is always some randomness with Minecraft structure generation, and I cannot 100% guarantee that you will find an ancient city every time using this strategy, but from the many experiments that I've done, it seems to be a pretty reliable method of finding ancient cities. If you want to make sure that it works or practice it, you can generate a new world and test this method in spectator mode. (Also, if you don't know, you can fly faster in spectator mode by scrolling up with your mouse wheel. Just an extra tip to help you practice this method faster.)

If you use this method to search for an ancient city in a video, please give credit to me, Greppi. I worked really hard on figuring this out. :)
Click here to view my YouTube Channel
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