Excavation is a unique, and certainly the main feature, of the Hoenn region. Once a day, it is possible to enter Excavation sites to find rare Pokémon as well as some unique items, notably being the main source of Fossils. In addition, some rewards such as Move Tutor and Syncable Fossil revival are offered as the player accumulates enough points.
Excavations are however a very pricey feature, costing 100,000 to unlock, and 2,500 per site entry, for up to 17,500 per day. It is estimated to cost up to 600,000 in order to unlock all the features of Excavation.
The quest to unlocking Excavation cannot be started until the Hoenn Elite Four has been completed.
To get started, Fossil Maniac Charles, located in Route 114's northmost house, will instruct the player to gather Rock Fragments. There are 6 of them, one near each Excavation site. They are hidden items located directly on top of nearby rocks, so it will be necessary to first use Rock Smash, then examine a second time to pick up the Rock Fragment. They can be found in the following places:
- Route 115: One of the two south-westmost rocks.
- Rusturf Tunnel: The rock immediately under Gingery Jones.
- Fiery Path: The rock two tiles north from Gingery Jones.
- Route 111 Desert: The second eastmost rock.
- Route 103: The northmost rock.
- Route 119A: The southmost rock.
Only the correct rocks leave rock pebbles under after using Rock Smash. The Rock Fragments do not appear in the inventory, so the only way to know if a Rock Fragment has already been taken is by trying to walk over the rock pebble.
Once all 6 Rock Fragments have been obtained, the unlock quest can be finished by talking back to Fossil Maniac Charles in Route 114. However, he will request to pay 100,000 in order to give the Archeological Permit. With the permit in hand, it will now be possible to enter Excavation sites.
Inside each site, there will be approximately 20 breakable objects. These all look the same in the same site, but different in different sites, varying from objects like pillars and tombstones. Breaking them using Rock Smash or a Pick Axe, obtainable in the Coin Shop for 75 coins, is the main goal of Excavations. Each rock respawns after 20 hours, making Excavations a daily activity.
When breaking these objects, the player receives 1 Discovery Point, a score that unlocks Excavation reward. There is also a chance for encountering a wild Pokémon or obtaining items. However, to each Pokémon and Fossil, there is a needed amount of Discovery points: if the player doesn't have enough Discovery points, a message will instead appear, saying the Pokemon fled away or that the Fossil broke. As such, early days will be particularly unfruitful. However, a small amount of bonus Discovery Points is obtained when that happens, making the unlocking of features a bit faster.
In each Excavation site, there is also one special breakable object, which can be identified by shiny sparkles floating around it. These shiny breakable, on top of the regular Pokémon and items, also have unique Pokémon that can spawn.
New Pokémon encounters and features are unlocked depending on how many Discovery Points the player has accumulated throughout his or her Excavation career. Once a reward has been unlocked, it is thus permanently unlocked. All rewards are unlocked at 10000 Discovery Points. The rewards are as follow:
- Up to 4000 Discovery Points: Gradual unlock of new Pokémon.
- 2400 Discovery Points: Gingery Jones (boss) becomes challengeable in Feral Site
- 3000 Discovery Points: Wondrous Site can now be entered.
- 4000 Discovery Points: Fossils stop breaking.
- 5000 Discovery Points: Sucker Punch tutor in Haunted Site
- 5000 Discovery Points: Explosion tutor in Mineral Site
- 5000 Discovery Points: Super Fang tutor in Natural Site
- 6000 Discovery Points: Syncable fossil revival in Historical Site
- 6000 Discovery Points: Briny Site can now be entered.
- 10000 Discovery Points: Draconic Site can now be entered.
- Main article: Haunted Site
Furthermore, the Sucker Punch move tutor is located inside of it and can be used after accumulating 5000 Discovery Points.
- Main article: Mineral Site
Furthermore, the Explosion move tutor is located inside of it and can be used after accumulating 5000 Discovery Points.
- Main article: Feral Site
Feral Site is located in Fiery Path. Pokémon encountered in it vary in type, although there are a lot of Fire type Pokémon. Furthermore, the Gingery Jones boss is located inside of it and can be challenged after accumulating 2400 Discovery Points.
- Main article: Glacial Site
Gingery Jones inside of this site will tell the player the exact amount of Discovery Points he or she has accumulated.
- Main article: Natural Site
Furthermore, the Super Fang move tutor is located inside of it and can be used after accumulating 5000 Discovery Points.
- Main article: Historical Site
There are two NPCs in this site. The first one, Gingery Jones will revive Fossils in a way that they can be Synchronized. However, he will not offer this service until 6000 Discovery Points have been accumulated, and will also ask for a fee of 15,000.
The second one, Artifact Maniac Hastor, will sell various items for Artifact Pieces, a currency that can sometimes be obtained by breaking objects in Excavation sites. Although expensive, Fossils, TMs and rare held-able items can be obtained from that shop.
- Main article: Wondrous Site
The site is a later addition, and requires 3000 Discovery Points to enter.
- Main article: Briny Site
The site is a later addition, and requires 6000 Discovery Points to enter.
- Main article: Draconic Site
The site is a later addition, and requires 10,000 Discovery Points to enter.
Hoenn Excavation Sites Guide by Noxious