Skyrim Saarthal Key: How to Get Into Saarthal Excavation

Saarthal Excavation is locked from the start of the game. Here's how to get in.

Saarthal Excavation is locked from the start of the game. Here's how to get in.

The main Saarthal area and the Saarthal excavation in Winterhold are locked at the start of Skyrim. In this guide, we’ll walk you through exactly what you need to do to get in. With the remastered version coming out, even veterans may need a refresher.

How to Get into Saarthal Excavation

In order to get inside the Saarthal Excavation, you will need to start the Under Saarthal quest. This is the second quest in the College of Winterhold questline, after First Lessons. In order to gain access to this questline, you will first need to join the College of Winterhold.

This is rather straight forward to do. During your playthrough, play close attention to your dialogue options when talking to NPCs, particularly innkeepers and spell merchants.

Occasionally, you will have the option to ask about magic training, after which you will be directed to the court mage or the College of Winterhold. Asking about the college will spawn a brand new map marker for the college, as well as a quest to visit it.

Once you reach the bridge leading to the college, you will be stopped and the First Lessons quest will be initiated.

Complete this quest to automatically begin the Under Saarthal quest, during which Saarthal’s marker will appear on your map. Tolfdir and the students will begin their travel to Saarthal, though it will take them four in-game hours to do so.

Once they have arrived there, Tolfdir will unlock the door for you after some dialogue, then lead you and the students into Saarthal Excavation.

At first, you will have access only to the first half of the zone, but you will gain access to the rest once you find the Ancient Amulet and equip it. This can be found at the northernmost point of the area.

Continue through the north-leading passage, and once Tolfdir joins you, carry out some dialogue until you he recommends to search the coffins. Once he says this, the door to the second half of Saarthal Excavation will open, and you are free to advance on and explore the rest.

With all that done, you should now have total access to all parts of the Saarthal Excavation, and all of the treasure that comes with it. Gold, potions, an apothecary’s satchel, and more are all hidden in Skyrim’s oldest Nord settlement, so get clearing and they’re all yours.

If you’d like to read up on some more Skyrim guides, check out our guides page for just that!

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