The stage is set in a small chamber featuring a decayed and bandaged woman's body lying on a stone alter and an orrery in the corner with a telescope on the opposite side pointed at a portal on the wall. Large jars and urns lay scattered about small, burning torches that line up in a circle on the floor, a large, golden statue leans against the wall, and a smaller altar lies in the middle of the room with a book on top of it. Behind the book's resting place is a large, circular inscription on the wall.
During an Ultra Combo, the book on the pedestal at the back will rise into the air and create a large blue portal to another dimension on the wall. Artifacts all around the room begin to levitate and spin.
During a Stage Ultra Combo, the victor flings the opponent up into the air, causing them to get smashed midair by five artifacts. The last artifact knocks them towards the portal in the background, which slowly sucks them in and then disappears, the book falling back to its pedestal and closing its pages.
Kan-Ra's theme, "Sandstorm", is composed by Mick Gordon and used as the background music for the Forbidden Archive. A Middle Eastern/Egyptian-style track reminiscent of The Mummy, the track features various string instruments including a shamisen, a sitar, and a heavy guitar, as well as a loud percussion section that utilizes bongos.
When the characters hold still for a certain amount of time, the music will change to a remixed version of the main KI theme song, "The Instinct".
- When playing Survival Mode while fighting Rash, he will appear in the Forbidden Archive since Rash doesn't have his own stage. Some speculate due to Kan-Ra opening continuous portals to other dimensions, this could imply Rash was caught amongst the stream, which would explain how he arrived in the Killer Instinct universe and why this stage of choice might have been chosen for his default, and plus it could also explain the "fine specimen" Kan-Ra is referring to in his intro, as well as Rash "Crashing this party", however this has not been confirmed by the creators as of yet.
- It also serves as Eyedol's stage (as a placeholder), which is appropriate since this stage, as seen in Eyedol's official Season 3 trailer, is where he was resurrected by Kan-Ra to fight against the arrival of Gargos on his behalf, before the warlord quickly beat down and abandoned him.