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Ancient debris is one of the most valuable resources in Minecraft, due to it being a source of netherite scraps and thus netherite ingots. It is found in the Nether most commonly at Y=15, although mining at lower levels is safer due to lower risk of mining into a lava ocean. While strip mining is still a potential and straightforward way of mining for ancient debris, using explosives is a lucrative possibility due to its high blast resistance. Furthermore, beds are commonly used, as they explode when used in Nether and are cheaper than other explosives. It is also possible to use ghasts or the wither to mine, however the player should be careful to not die by their explosions and not to break ancient debris with blue wither skulls.

Method comparison[]

This video compares the methods to find ancient debris, between strip-mining, the bed method and TNT method.

This video shows 5 different methods, with success rate for each method.

Branch mining[]

Using a diamond pickaxe with at least Efficiency II, the player can instantly mine the netherrack. With the proper angle, this makes it possible to mine while maintaining sprint. The player can then go in one direction until they hit lava, and proceed to mine in another direction. However, it is highly recommended to have multiple potions of fire resistance, as it is possible for the player to accidentally run directly into lava. Compared to using beds or TNT, traditional mining is resource-efficient, as only tools and food are strictly needed. This method allows you to go about 12 blocks per second.

It is recommended to have Mending and Unbreaking III on the pickaxe. This way, the player can mend their pickaxe by mining the quartz and nether gold ore found along the way. This allows for the player to mine for ancient debris for as long as they have food. Also, the player should mark the coordinates of where they started mining so they can easily find their way back.

Combining beds with branch mining is also a useful method.

The bed method[]

This method utilizes the fact that beds, when used in alternate dimensions, explode with a larger blast radius than TNT. It is easy to do, as you don't need to mine a lot. You will, though, use up many beds, requiring reliable wool and wood resources. Furthermore, given the extremely large amount of damage bed explosions deal and the presence of underground lava pools, it may be advisable to bring totems of undying, armor enchanted with Blast Protection and potions of Fire Resistance to protect yourself. However, these are not required.

Step 1 - Mining

Mine all the way to Y = 15, as there is the highest concentration of ancient debris in the exposed blocks.

Step 2 - Crafting

Place a crafting table and craft a good number of beds. If your inventory is full, put unused wool and planks in a barrel or other storage. If there are any piglins nearby, don't use chests, barrels, or any other similar container blocks, as they can become angered and come attack you!

Step 3 - Main tunnel

Start mining a tunnel. At every 16th block, mine 1×1×5 tunnels (1 block wide, 1 block high and 5 blocks long) perpendicular to your main tunnel at eye level. Additionally, you may break the block below you and place a slab to negate most of the damage before blowing up the bed.

Step 4 - Placing beds

Place a bed at the end of the side tunnel. Then, after carefully positioning yourself, right-click on the bed to trigger the explosion.

Nether Tunnel for bed

How explosion is calculated in Minecraft. The bed has an explosion power of 5, so you need to be 6 blocks from it. Otherwise, it can hurt and potentially kill you.

Step 5 - explosion

After the explosion, you may find up to 3 ancient debris in exposed blocks. Nearby nether gold ore might also break, dropping gold nuggets you can collect, and many more unbroken blocks are most likely revealed by the blast. You can mine these out if you like, but note that any nearby piglins will become angered if the blocks you mined are nether gold ore.


This video explains the process of exploding beds for ancient debris. It also suggests a second explosion which is not necessary, but can increase the chance of getting ancient debris.

Repeat these steps on the other side until you have no beds (or food).

Chunk border mining[]

There is a common misconception that ancient debris generates more often at chunk borders, or that mining at chunk borders is a more efficient way to find debris. This is not true.

While there is the possibility for a debris vein in one chunk to "cross the border" and so result in a chunk having both its own debris and the crossed-over vein, this is balanced out by the fact that the chunk's own vein cannot generate outside of the border to cross back in.

Another thing to consider is that while mining at a chunk border does allow you to see parts of twice as many chunks, you see fewer blocks in each chunk, so the chance of finding ancient debris balances out.

At best, being aware of chunks might allow you to skip using TNT on the rest of the chunk if you find the large vein early on.