At this stage in time, most of the known digs are "controlled" by one or another of the very large universities or, less commonly, by a corporation.
Thus, unless you can afford to explore on your own on the very thin hope that you MAY some day find a subsidence that hasn't already been picked over (there are still some, but obviously, the more time passes, the harder it is to find new subsidences) 1/2?
~ you'll want the sponsorship of one of those Universities/Corps. Since you can really only have so many people at a dig at once, this leads to a great deal of competition - and thus backbiting.
Of COURSE some researchers get better funding! They publish more interesting or more academically vigorous articles; they know who to butter up at the holiday parties; on occasion, rumors have come out of bribery - usually via scavenged magical items from the subsidences, which are frankly priceless.
There is a story regarding 2 theories about a certain group of pre-subsidance people - the Bashora.
At a party around a sports-match between 2 rival universities, the researcher who had proposed the first theory & spent most of their life researching it - that the Bashora were a social club which had exploded in popularity due to magic use -broke a priceless Bashora artifact over the head of a 2nd researcher, who'd insisted the Bashora were a religio-ethnic group opposed to non-religious magic.
#WorldBuildingWednesday (need 33 words to hit my next wordcount milestone!
There have been several spikes of activity in artifact faking since the first subsidence was excavated.
The first was, not surprisingly, the longest and most profitable for counterfeiters, who could generally use any little bit of hedge magic to make an item "feel" magical and then claim it was from The Pre-Subsidence Time.
Once fraud was revealed, counterfeiters needed~
to get more clever in their fakes, to make things which could pass the fraud detectors that several of the universities invented concurrently.
(nothing motivates a corporation to halt fraud more than losing the equivalent of 100s of 1000s of dollars and taking a bit ding to the reputation)
Currently, the trick for faking artifacts generally involves something that is nearly as arduous as actually enchanting it and creates something that can pass all tests but is often dangerous or fatal.
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