Ancient Artifact

An Ancient Artifact is a form of Artifact of Power. It is also invariably old — in fact, typically, the older the artifact, the more powerful it is.

Most of the time, they are also unique. That is, while a story may have many Ancient Artifacts, each one will be the only one of its kind: there is only one Excalibur, one Gáe Bulg, and one Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi. If not, they will often form part of a group of linked artifacts.

Ancient Artifacts are common in the fantasy genre, where their power is usually derived from supernatural sources. The tools and weapons of the gods are textbook examples of Ancient Artifacts, as are certain religious relics. Supremely powerful instruments of mortal magic, made by long-forgotten means, are another type of Ancient Artifact.

They aren't limited to the fantasy genre though: they can often be found in any adventure story, including those with contemporary settings. In non-fantasy works, Ancient Artifacts are frequently the forgotten technology of a lost civilization, or of Ancient Astronauts. Imported Alien Phlebotinum can serve a similar narrative purpose.

Subtrope of Artifact of Power. Unrelated to The Artifact.


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Alternative Title(s): Ancient Artifacts