You'll have to find silica in Assassin’s Creed Origins if you want to unlock the Ancient Mechanisms hiding inside the tombs. While Egypt is full of plenty of precious loot that’s waiting for you to hunt it down, silica is rarest of all substances making the tombs it effectively guards tricky to open up.
The majority of the ancient mechanisms across Egypt only require five silica but one special one that can uncover needs 50 before it'll yield. First off, you can check how many you’ve already got in the resources section of your inventory screen. It’s described as a ‘unique glass fragment found in tombs and used as a decorative ornament'. The good news is that because it’s in the collectibles section you don’t need to worry about accidentally selling it which, given how hard it is to find, is a huge relief.
Now, let's run through how to get it.
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It is possible to find silica lurking beneath trees in the middle of the desert but your main port of call for silica is tombs. It’s also not a coincidence that you’ll find the most in tombs that have ancient mechanisms inside them and there are always plenty scattered around each one. Rather than a straight walkthrough of how to explore each tomb, here’s a general overview of where you’ll find the most and how to maximise each tomb.
Best tombs for silica in Assassin's Creed Origins
For maximum silica, if you haven’t explored it already, you’re going to want to head to the Seth-Anat tomb in the Desheret Desert. There are 15 of the golden fragments up for grabs here so don’t miss it. The trick with this tomb is to actually do the puzzle involving mirrors along the top of the tomb that’s buried in an impressive structure in the middle of the desert. Remember to start on the West side, which is where the light starts. You can clamber up and along the sides, pulling out mirrors and dusting off cobwebs along the way and, most importantly, picking up bits of silica. There are rooms all the way along the top level that have a sneaky fragment hidden inside. Just keep an eye out for snakes…
Once you’ve covered the top layer and explored all of the insets along the top while lighting up the main cavern, you’ll want to drop down to the sandy floor and before heading in to interact with the tablet, there are a couple of silica hiding in caves on the ground floor. Once you’ve interacted with the stone tablet, you’ll find a silica on each side of the ramp heading towards the ancient mechanism. Then the ancient mechanism room has another five lying around so run around the outside of the room before interacting with it. As a bonus, when you’re leaving, use the teleporter, and then search the caverns around the way out for some bonus silica.
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Your next biggest tombs in terms of silica are Nomarch’s Tomb and the Golden Tomb. Nomarch’s Tomb is in the Black Desert and (thankfully) with this one you don’t need to clamber around too much. There are plenty of little rooms with silica though so just make sure you explore every area fully before carrying on. The Ancient Mechanism that’s attached to Nomarch’s tomb will also yield seven more silica, so dive down and collect ‘em all.
After you’ve picked them all up, head to the Golden Tomb in the Isolated desert for even more of the shiny stuff. There are 13 up for grabs in the Isolated Desert and you’re not going to have too many problems picking them all up. Just do the mirror puzzles to lighten things up, keep looking at everything and exploring the caverns, and you’ll find the precious substance scattered about. Keep lighting your way and when you get into the room with tablet, check the floor for a bonus piece.
The Ancient Mechanism attached to the Golden Tomb also delivers a stack of silica. Before you activate the device, do a circuit of the room to find a bonus five fragments. You’re also going to find 12 each in the tombs of Smenkhkare in Haueris Nome and the tomb of Khufu in Giza. These also happen to be the sites of the last two ancient mechanisms. Keep looking for sneaky hidden rooms and passages and you’ll have no trouble hunting the silica beneath the sands. And if you still haven’t found enough, every tomb has three or four fragments so keep a look out in the darkness and keep exploring to find more. Good luck, Assassin.