Valthume is an ancient barrow where ancient knowledge awaits and the restless dead still battle. It is located southeast of Markarth, and southwest of Rorikstead.
The iron claw and its door inside Valthume Catacombs
The word wall at Valthume
The area is filled with urns and chests, which usually carry some minor loot, as well as coffins, all of which are empty. Draugr predominate the place, and occasionally there are frostbite spiders as well, including a giant one. There is a word wall here which teaches part of the Aura Whisper shout, as well as a quest to defeat Hevnoraak. After defeating Hevnoraak, loot his corpse for the mask of the same name. The mask makes the wearer immune to disease and poison, handy when dealing with vampires, skeevers, or any disease spreading creatures.
Early in the dungeon, you will enter a room with several rows of benches and a trap door leading to a spider pit. In this room, there is a high ledge that you can reach by using the Whirlwind Sprint shout from a walkway along the northern wall. This high ledge leads to a leveled piece of armor and a chest.
 Related Quests
- This location contains a copy of the Restoration skill book Withershins.
- The combination for the dragon claw door is, from top to bottom: Dragon—Hawk—Wolf (found on the underside of the iron claw).
- The gate opens when the vial is removed from the pedestal.
- There are three different ways you can obtain the word of power without fighting Hevnoraak:
- If you pick up the vessel in front of the word wall and it's the second vessel you obtain, the iron bars will retract. [verification needed — see talk page]
- If this does not work, you can try moving on without it to Valthume, then coming back. The game will check for the existence of the vessel and retract the bars if it is not there. Be careful, as moving to different zones autosaves and you could end up overwriting the autosave that otherwise might've made this easier.
- Alternately, you can get the word without raising the gate by standing by the wall to the right of the word wall (the side with the door to the next chamber) and pressing yourself as close to the wall as possible. The word will go through the wall to you.
- If that doesn't work, try closing the gate on the right which leads to Valthume; activating the chain should do the trick.
- If you have picked up all three vessels and the bars have not retracted, stand on the podium for a few seconds and then jump off and then the bars will retract.
- If the dragon claw door does not work, check here for possible fixes.
- It is possible for the quest vial to get knocked out from the pedestal during the fight. This may cause some complications:
- It may be blown away to where you can't find it. You can try jumping on the pedestal or placing an item on it and the bars may retract.
- It may press the switch twice. If you are outside of the gate, you can jump on the pedestal and your weight may cause the bars to retract. If you are inside the gate, then you can try using a shout such as Unrelenting Force or Fire Breath on the pedestal; however, you may have to reload.
- Reloading the auto-save from when you entered the Catacombs, then exiting, re-entering, and making your way back to the door will correct this.
- It is possible to kite the Draugr back to the ghost at the entrance and kill them while they attack it. The ghost takes no damage. ?