Stellaris Artifacts: What They Are & What They Do

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Artifacts in Stellaris are a unique type of resource, one that will require a bit more work (and luck) to find.

You can exchange artifacts for unique bonuses to your empire. They also help unlock progress for Special Project event chains, like the L-Gates and the Irassians.

Note: Artifacts are only available if the Ancient Relics DLC is enabled.


What Exactly Are Artifacts?

Artifacts, or Minor Artifacts, are a unique resource in Stellaris.

Unlike other resources, however, you don’t earn them passively each month. Instead you will have to find them, mostly from excavating Archaeological Sites.

Artifacts can be used in the “Society Management” screen, under the “Relics” tab. You can access Society Management by pressing F8, or by selecting it on the game menu left of the screen.

The Artifacts menu / Stellaris
The Artifacts menu

Here’s a list of bonuses and how many Artifacts you will need to activate them:

Option Cost Effect
Sell to Private Collectors 1 +500 Energy Credits
Celebrate Diversity 2 +100 to 500 Unity
+50% Xenophile Ethic Attraction for 10 years
Proclaim Religious Revelation 2 +100 to 500 Unity
+50% Spiritualist Ethic Attraction for 10 years
Proclaim Superiority 2 +40 to 100 Influence
+50% Xenophobe Ethic Attraction for 10 years
Reverse Engineer Arcane Technology 5 One of the following:

  • 500 – 10,000 Research Points
  • +10% research speed for 5 years
  • Random technology gain 20% progress
  • Random technology gain 20% progress
Unlock Secret Project Insight 50 Unlocks progress for a special project

Note: Artifacts can be hard to find in the later stages of the game, so spend them wisely.

Another very specific use for Artifacts is in the late game, when you’ve started building Megastructures, Stellaris’ version of wonders, namely the Mega Art Installation.

You will need 100 Artifacts in order to fully upgrade the Mega Art Installation Megastructure.


Where To Get Artifacts

As mentioned before, Artifacts are a finite resource in Stellaris.

They can be found through excavating Archaeological Sites, from random events, from Caravaneers, and from certain Relics.

But each method has its drawbacks, so securing Artifacts is never convenient.


Method 1: Archaeological Sites

Excavating an Archaeological Site / Stellaris
Excavating an Archaeological Site

Excavation of Archaeological Sites will be your main source of Artifacts. It is the most reliable source in the game, though not always the quickest.

These special points of interest can be discovered while surveying.

Archaeological Sites could already be in place from the start in certain planets or discovered years after you’ve colonized a planet.

You have a 1.25% chance of finding an Archaeological Site while surveying a planet. Your chances are decreased to 0.25% for 5 years after you’ve discovered a new site.

To excavate an Archaeological Site:

  1. Make sure you have a Science Ship with a Scientist assigned to it
  2. Select the Ship, then right-click on the star system that has an Archaeological Site
  3. Select “Excavate Site”
  4. Your Science Ship will stay on-site until the excavation is finished

Note: The Archaeological Site needs to be within your borders before you can excavate it.

The Excavation will have 1 to 6 “Chapters”, with each Chapter having its own set of narratives and rewards.

How long your Science Ship unlocks each Excavation Chapter depends on the Archaeological Site’s difficulty and the expertise level of the Scientist assigned to the site.

After a set amount of time, the Scientist excavating will make a “Roll”.

Each Roll could have the following outcomes:

  • Nothing happens
  • Gain 1 Clue
  • Gain 2 Clues
  • Special Event
  • Breakthrough (You finish the Chapter and gain the rewards)

For every Clue you gain for that chapter, the chances of getting nothing decreases, while the chances of getting a breakthrough increases.

An Archaeological Site fully excavated for huge bonuses and a huge number of Artifacts / Stellaris
An Archaeological Site fully excavated for huge bonuses and a huge number of Artifacts

Method 2: Caravaneers

Another way you can gain Artifacts is through Caravaneers. Caravaneers are special factions that visit your empire from time to time.

They offer you trade deals, and sometimes, they might sell you 5 Artifacts in exchange for 300 Alloys.

This method isn’t very reliable, but if you’re lucky enough that a Caravan would visit and they are selling, then you should buy.

Note: You will need the MegaCorp DLC for Caravaneers to visit.


Method 3: Relics

Some Relics also give your empire a lump sum of Artifacts, though you’ll need to find them first, and they will have a cooldown of 3,600 in-game days.

The Relics in question are the Rubricator, which gives 30 Artifacts, and the Galatron, which also has a chance to give 30 Artifacts.


What Are Relics?

A few Relics in the Society Management menu / Stellaris
A few Relics in the Society Management menu

Relics are powerful artifacts that also act as trophies whenever you finish a Crisis or certain event chains.

Each Relic has a passive effect and an active effect, also known in-game as a “Triumph” effect. You can activate a Relic’s Triumph effect using resources.

Note: You can only activate one Relic at a time every 3,600 in-game days. Each Triumph effect is empire-wide.

Here is a list of the Relics you can find in Stellaris:

Relic Passive Effect Triumph Effect
Extradimensional Warlock +15% Sublight Speed for your ships +100% Jump Drive Range for 10 years
Isolated Contingency Core +100% Robot Assembly Speed +300% Megastructure Build Speed for 10 years
Prethoryn Brood Queen +30 Research to Society You gain a Prethoryn fleet
Ether Drake Trophy +10% Monthly Unity +10% Happiness for 10 years
Khan’s Throne −20% Influence cost for Claims +20% Ship weapons damage for 10 years
+25% Militarist Ethic Attraction for 10 years
Cybrex War Forge +5% Monthly Alloy
Recruitable Cybrex Warform armies
+5000 Alloys
Javorian Pox Sample +20 Leader lifespan New Orbital Bombardment stance
Vultaum Reality Perforator −10% Pop Amenities Usage Gain a random combat modifier
Yuht Cryo Core +1 Extra population when starting a colony −20% Ship Upkeep for 10 years
Psionic Archive −50% Shroud Cooldown One of the following:

  • +500 Ruler experience
  • +20% Ship weapons damage for 5 years
  • +5 Planet Stability, −10% Edict Cost, and +25% Government Ethic Attraction for 5 years
The Last Baol +10% Pop Growth Speed
+10% Society Research if machine empire
Turn one planet into a Gaia planet with 100% Habitability to all races
Blade of the Huntress +25% Army Morale
+2 Planet Sensor Range
+25% Sublight Speed for 10 years
Head of Zarqlan +40% Spiritualist Ethics Attraction
+150 opinion with Holy Guardians Fallen Empire
Holy Worlds become colonizable
Gain a Holy Guardians fleet
Miniature Galaxy +5% Research Speed +50% Research progress to a random technology
The Defragmentor −10% Robot upkeep
−10% Pop housing usage if machine empire
+20% Monthly Credits for 10 years
+10% Engineering Research Speed for 10 years
The Omnicodex +1 Gene Modification Points Gain 3 population from a new random species
Scales of the Worm +10% Physics Research Speed +20% Research Speed for 10 years
−5 Stability for 10 years
The Rubricator +20 Research to Society 30 Artifacts
The Surveyor +1 to Sensor Range A random celestial body in your empire gains a new resource deposit
The Galatron +3 monthly Influence
+100% Diplomatic weight
Random resources, including 30 Artifacts
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Ron Agor

Kendoka, artist and gamer. If weekend warrior was a thing, he is it, literally and figuratively.