Elder Scrolls


28,574pages on
this wiki
Tomb  Saarthal
Saarthal Map
Hold Winterhold
Location South of the College of Winterhold
Type Tomb
Quests Under Saarthal
Forbidden Legend
Characters Arniel Gane
Brelyna Maryon
Enemies Draugr
Jyrik Gauldurson
Location ID Saarthal01

Saarthal is an ancient Nordic tomb in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It used to be the capital of Skyrim and was built by Ysgramor, before it was sacked by the Snow Elves.

College of WinterholdEdit

Arniel Gane, a researcher at the College of Winterhold, is investigating magical relics contained within the abandoned tomb, located in Winterhold. It is the final resting place of Jyrik Gauldurson.


It was the capital city of the Seventh Empire of the Nords, which was established by Ysgramor. It was one of the first cities established by men in Tamriel. The Snow Elves destroyed this city in what is now known as the Night of Tears, and only Ysgramor and his two sons escaped during the carnage.[1]

Later, the destruction of this city would be avenged when Ysgramor returned with his famed warriors, the Five Hundred Companions. [2] The famed enchanter known as Ahzidal heard of the arrival of Ysgramor and the Five Hundred, he went to them, and offered his services to him and his army.[3] With steel imbued with powerful enchantments, Ysgramor, the Five Hundred Companions and Ahzidal began to hunt down the remaining Snow Elves across Skyrim and Solsthiem, and a war would begin between the two races. The Five Hundred Companions eventually won, with the vast majority of the Snow Elves dying on the line of duty.[2] Archaeologist Floronius discovered that the Snow Elves had an intricate understanding of the city's layout before launching their assault.[4] The battle which destroyed Saarthal may have been over the "Eye of Magnus," which the Snow Elves held dear to their culture.[1]


Under SaarthalEdit

The Dragonborn visits this location with three other mage-apprentices after joining the College of Winterhold. First, they are instructed to help a fellow College of Winterhold scholar, Arniel Gane, to retrieve 3-4 enchanted artifacts (items and count vary with level and school of magic chosen) from various locations in the ruins.

Doing so, the Saarthal Amulet is discovered. When the amulet is worn and a spell is cast towards the door it opens to a burial chamber. Along with Tolfdir, the Dragonborn enters the room where they see a vision of Nerien, a member of Psijic Order. If the location is visited before "Under Saarthal", the door to the inner rooms remains locked.

Nerein warns that the Eye of Magnus, an artifact found within must be obtained and protected by the College of Winterhold, because interested parties want to exploit its power. The Dragonborn and Tolfdir discover the device, and slay the Draugr protecting it. Afterwards, the Dragonborn rushes back to the college to warn Arch-Mage Savos Aren of the discovery.

Solving the puzzleEdit

The puzzle with the rotating pillars is solved by discovering the animal symbol behind each pillar. This can be done by carefully looking at the wall while using a torch or casting Magelight or the Candlelight spell. However, if the Dragonborn has none of these, they will have to take great care not to get stuck behind a pillar or use a spell like flames (It gives off light). Both Spells can be bought from Tolfdir.

Activating certain pillars will rotate a number of the others. The pillar on the left closest to the door will turn all of the other pillars, the pillar on the left furthest from the door will turn both of the pillars on the right, the pillar on the right closest to the door will turn the pillar in front of it and the pillar on the right furthest from the door will not turn any other pillars. The pillars should be activated in descending order of how many other pillars will turn with them, and should be set to (in that order): whale, snake, eagle, whale.

Forbidden LegendEdit

After stealing his father's amulet, Jyrik was entombed in Saarthal, bound by a Writ of Sealing. The Dragonborn destroys Jyrik and recovers his fragment of the amulet needed to reconstruct the original.


Notable lootEdit

  • Staff of Jyrik Gauldurson on the altar in front of the Eye of Magnus.
  • Easy to miss apothecary's satchel containing random ingredients, under the central podium in the room where the Psijic vision occurs and the Draugr first appear.
  • Ice Form Word Wall (one word).
  • Ruby amidst the rubble in the room with the first Deathlord.
  • Dwarven Shield of Waning Fire.



  • To the northwest of Saarthal, a dead, frozen Mammoth sticking out of a wall of ice can be found. Spears of Dwarven make are lodged in its body. Dwarven arrows can also be found. The Mammoth must have fallen down into a glacier and frozen solid after being killed by the ancient Dwarves, thousands of years ago.


This section contains bugs related to Saarthal. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Confirm all bugs with other editors on the talk page before adding them below.
  2. Always try reloading an old save first, before asking for assistance.
  3. Do not discuss possible bug fixes or origins. Leave those and all other first-person-anecdotes on the talk page, not the article.
  4. Always add  360  ,  PS3  , or  PC   to clarify which system the bug appears on.
  • Followers may disappear upon entering the ruin.
  • Player may not be able to rotate the pillars when trying to solve the puzzle. If this is the matter either reload the game to an earlier save, or just simply walk back and re-enter the area.
  • The door may not open even when the pillars are in the correct position. Reload to a point prior to entering that area and replay to fix.
  • It is possible to retrieve the amulet without retrieving any of the other artifacts.
  • Players may not be able to enter because Tolfdir will not show up during the quest Under Saarthal.



Start a Discussion Discussions about Saarthal

  • Where is the book?

    • I have heard that a book "Songs of Skyrim" was supposed to be in there. Can't find it
  • Random mammoth?

    2 messages
    • I just fast traveled to Saarthal and there was randomly a mammoth there. Can mammoths be found in snowy areas as well? I have never seen ...
    • yes a mammoth vs two cats it's a random encounter

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki