Minecraft's archaeology feature has been on hiatus for years now, but the devs at Mojang have finally confirmed that it's set to land as part of the 1.20 update.
Archaeology was announced (opens in new tab) for the Caves & Cliffs update back in 2020, but in the wake of the update's delays and its split into two parts, the devs announced in 2021 (opens in new tab) that some features - like archaeology - had "been put on hold," though they had definitely "not been canceled" and were "going to Minecraft in the future when we’re able to add them in the best possible way."
The future is 2023, it seems, as Mojang has now confirmed (opens in new tab) that archaeology is set to launch as part of the 1.20 update later this year. If you want to try it out before that proper launch, the feature will be available to test in snapshots and beta previews "very soon."
In its current iteration, archaeology hinges on a new block called suspicious sand. You'll be able to use a new tool - the brush - to uncover what hides inside those blocks. The rewards can include random items, as well as pottery shards, which can sport many individual patterns. Combine four shards of your choice together and you get a nifty pot with a custom design.
The devs are drip-feeding information what to expect from Minecraft 1.20, but the update will bring us highly anticipated new features like the armor trim system.
A recent snapshot also confirmed that one of Minecraft's most infamous bugs has been fixed - only a decade late.