Archaeology Guide 1-525

wow cataclysm archaeology guide
  • Author: Luxrah
  • Date: May 3, 2024
  • Updated: May 3, 2024
  • Expansion: Cataclysm

The Cataclysm expansion brings with it a new secondary profession, Archaeology, which every character can pick up in addition to their other professions. This profession sends players all over Azeroth and beyond to dig up artifacts and build their collections.

Archaeology offers many unique rewards, including toys, mounts, pets, achievements, and even some strong endgame gear, all of which are account-bound and can be shared across your characters. For this reason, most players will only level Archaeology on one character.

This guide will give a complete overview of the Archaeology profession so you can unleash your inner Indiana Jones in World of Warcraft!

Archaeology Rewards

Archaeology offers many unique vanity items as well as several pieces of 359 item level gear. These items are all account bound, meaning you can mail them to your other characters. The equipment is generally better than anything other than Heroic raid loot, so many players will want to obtain these items as part of their endgame gearing process.

Artifact
Type
Fragments
130 Draenei
Toy
100 Fossil
Toy
124 Draenei
Toy
140 Nerubian
Toy
150 Night Elf
Toy
100 Dwarf
Toy
100 Night Elf
Toy
100 Troll
Toy
100 Night Elf
Toy
98 Night Elf
Toy
150 Tol’vir
Toy
140 Nerubian
Toy
150 Dwarf
Toy
100 Vrykul
Toy
150 Night Elf
Pet
100 Dwarf
Pet
150 Tol’vir
Pet
100 Fossil
Pet
120 Fossil
Pet
100 Troll
Mount
100 Fossil
Mount
150 Tol’vir
1H Axe
130 Vrykul
1H Sword
150 Tol’vir
2H Sword
150 Troll
Cloth Chest
100 Night Elf
Finger
150 Tol’vir
Mail Head
130 Orc
Shield
150 Fossil
Staff
150 Tol’vir
Staff
150 Dwarf
Trinket
150 Night Elf

Achievements

There are also many achievements you can earn through Archaeology, including three which award unique titles.

Here’s a complete list:

Achievement
Description
Reward
Obtain 150 skill points in archaeology.
achievement icon10
Obtain 225 skill points in archaeology.
achievement icon10
Obtain 300 skill points in archaeology.
achievement icon10
Obtain 375 skill points in archaeology.
achievement icon10
Obtain 450 skill points in archaeology.
achievement icon10
Obtain 525 skill points in archaeology.
achievement icon10
Find 10 unique common artifacts.
achievement icon10
Find 50 common artifacts.
achievement icon10
Find 100 common artifacts.
achievement icon10
Find a rare artifact.
achievement icon10
Title: Assistant Professor
Find 10 rare artifacts.
achievement icon10
Title: Associate Professor
Find 20 rare artifacts
achievement icon10
Title: Professor
Recover archaeology artifacts from each of the 9 races.
achievement icon10
Recover the following scepters from the various races of Azeroth.
achievement icon10
Recover the night elf artifacts that tell the fateful story of Pyramond and Theleste.
achievement icon10
Discover who slew the dread wyrm Kaldrigos by collecting artifacts.
achievement icon10
Discover how orc Chieftan Hargal was killed by collecting artifacts.
achievement icon10
Discover the artifacts of the Dark Iron thanes.
achievement icon10
Recover the tol’vir artifacts that tell of the rise and fall of Emperor Ninjter.
achievement icon10

Learning Archaeology

Unlike other professions which can be learned as early as level 1, Archaeology can’t be trained until level 20. But as with all professions in Cataclysm, you can train all levels of the skill at any Archaeology trainer. You’ll need to train the next tier of the skill every 75 levels before you can progress any further.

Archaeology Trainers

There is an Archaeology trainer in every major city. Here are their names and locations:

Neutral:

  • Boduro the Seeker – Shattrath, Lower City (62.5, 70.2)
  • Dariness the Learned – Dalaran, The Legerdemain Lounge (48.5, 38.6)

Wow Alliance Crest Alliance:

  • Diya – The Exodar, The Vault of Lights (34.6, 66.8)
  • Doktor Professor Ironpants – Ironforge, Hall of Explorers (75.6, 11.6)
  • Hammon the Jaded – Darnassus, The Temple of the Moon (43.2, 83.6)
  • Harrison Jones – Stormwind, Stormwind Keep (85.6, 25.8)

Horde:

  • Adam Hossack – Undercity, Magic Quarter (76.0, 36.4)
  • Belloc Brightblade – Orgrimmar, Grommash Hold (49.0, 79.6)
  • Elynara – Silvermoon City, The Royal Exchange (81.6, 63.8)
  • Otoh Greyhide – Thunder Bluff, Elder Rise (75.8, 28.0)

Leveling Archaeology

There are three ways that you can gain skill points in Archaeology:

  • 1 point when you dig up a fragment (only up to level 50 skill)
  • 5 points when you solve a common artifact
  • 15 points when you solve a rare artifact

The most efficient way to level is to dig for fragments for your first 50 levels and hold onto your fragments and keystones until digging stops giving skill points. Then you can begin solving artifacts all the way to the level cap.

The Dwarf Racial

Dwarves receive a new racial ability in Cataclysm, Explorer, which makes them the best race to learn Archaeology. This ability increases the number of fragments you can loot per dig as well as helping you survey faster.

wow cataclysm archaeology dwarf racial explorer

Digging for Fragments

To use your Archaeology skill, you’ll first need to locate a digsite. Then you’ll be able to use your Survey ability to dig for artifacts. We’ll walk you through the process below.

Digsites

In order to dig for artifacts, you’ll first need to locate a digsite. There will always be four digsites available per continent. When you have completed a digsite on that continent, a new one will appear on your map. Your digsites are your own – no one else can come and dig up your artifacts, although you may encounter other players who happen to have a digsite in the same place.

Digsites appear on the continent map as a shovel icon. Zooming in on the zone, you will see the areas marked with a red outline.

  • At first you will only be able to access digsites in Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor.
  • When you reach level 300 in the Archaeology skill, you’ll be able to access Outland digsites.
  • At level 375, you’ll be able to dig in Northrend.
  • At 450, you’ll be able to dig in level 80-85 Cataclysm zones.

Digsites appear in specific locations, so you may wind up digging in the same one several times. You’ll never see them in starting zones since the characters there are too low level for Archaeology.

Surveying

When you arrive at a digsite, you can use your Survey ability. You can find it in the Professions tab of your Spellbook. You will only be able to Survey while you are inside a digsite (the red outline on the map).

wow cataclysm archeology survey

When you Survey, an object that looks like a telescope will appear, pointing in the general direction of the nearest fragment. The attached light will indicate how far away the fragment is. The following are rough distances, although it may vary based on the size of the digsite:

  • Red: 80 yards or more
  • Yellow: 40-80 yards
  • Green: Under 40 yards

wow cataclysm archaeology telescope lights

Move in the direction indicated by the telescope (the direction that the wider end is pointing) and Survey again. You may have to do this several times before you find the right spot. The direction indicated by the telescope is not exact, but more of a cone. Sometimes you will luck out and find the fragment on your first dig or even find multiple in the same spot, without the telescope even appearing.

When you use the Survey ability close enough to the fragment, the the fragment will appear on the ground instead of the telescope, and you will be able to pick it up by clicking on it.

The appearance of the fragment varies based on the type of digsite you’re in, but it will be easily identified by the golden sparkles around it. If you’re having trouble locating it, you should be able to see it as a yellow dot on your minimap. Don’t wait too long to pick it up, because it can despawn and then you’ll have to start over. Looting it will net you multiple fragments and possibly a keystone as well.

When you’ve looted from three fragments, the current digsite will disappear from your map and a new one will appear somewhere on the same continent.

Crafting Artifacts

Surveying will net you fragments and keystones, which you can use to create artifacts. We’ll explain each of these items below.

Fragments

Fragments are the basic item you will use to assemble artifacts. The type of fragments you’ll dig up depends upon the digsite location. Since each continent will only have four active digsites at a time, farming specific fragments will often require digging up unrelated sites until a digsite spawns with the fragments you need. You can have up to 200 fragments of each type.

Here is a table with all the different types of fragments, the skill level required to dig them up, and the locations where you’ll find them. Location names are listed in order of how common the fragment type is in each location, with the top location being the best place to look for it.

Fragment Type
Level
Locations
Dwarf
1
Eastern Kingdoms
Kalimdor
Fossil
1
Eastern Kingdoms
Kalimdor
Night Elf
1
Kalimdor
Northrend
Eastern Kingdoms
Troll
1
Eastern Kingdoms
Northrend
Kalimdor
Draenei
300
Outland
Orc
300
Outland
Nerubian
375
Northrend
Eastern Kingdoms
Vrykul
375
Northrend
Tol’vir
450
Kalimdor – Uldum only

Keystones

When you dig up fragments you may also occasionally loot a keystone. These are tradeable items that can be bought and sold on the Auction House. They can be used for two different purposes: to provide buffs in endgame dungeons (see the Archaeology Dungeon Quests section at the bottom of this guide) or to help complete artifacts.

One keystone is equivalent to 12 fragments of the same type, but you can only use 1-3 keystones per artifact, so you will still need to collect fragments as well. There is no keystone for fossils. Below are all of the keystones and their associated artifact types.

Keystone
Type
Draenei
Dwarf
Night Elf
Nerubian
Orc
Tol’vir
Troll
Vrykul

Artifacts

If you open your Archaeology profession window and click on the blue bookmark on the right, you can see your current research projects. You’ll start a new one every time you acquire a new type of fragment, and they will stay there until you complete them. You can’t choose which artifact you would like to work on – the game will select one at random. So if you’re after a specific reward, you may have to complete many artifacts of the same type before you can work on the one you want.

wow cataclysm archaeology races

Clicking on a race will open its current research project. Most of these will be common artifacts, gray or white quality items that can be sold to vendors for gold. Occasionally you will get a rare artifact that rewards a toy, pet, mount, or a piece of endgame gear. You can see a complete list of these rare artifacts in the Archaeology Rewards section at the top of this guide.

You will see a progress bar indicating how many fragments you currently have of that type. There are also hexagonal sockets below the progress bar where you can insert keystones of the same type. Most common artifacts will have one keystone slot and rare artifacts will have three slots. A keystone will add the equivalent of 12 fragments to your progress bar.

When the progress bar is full, the Solve button will turn red and you can click it to create the item. You will keep any leftover fragments. A new research project will appear and the item will be placed in your inventory.

You can view your completed artifacts by clicking on the purple bookmark in the Archaeology window.

Archaeology Dungeon Quests

If your character has leveled Archaeology to at least 425 skill level, you will have access to repeatable quests inside several high-level dungeons. These quests require you to turn in a specific keystone. In return they will grant your party a unique buff for the duration of the dungeon.

Below you can see all of the buffs as well as their required quest and keystone.

Location
Quest
Keystone
Buff

 

About the Author

Luxrah

I've been playing World of Warcraft on and off since vanilla, usually as a healer or caster and often as a guild leader. I play both retail and classic. I also love RPGs, sandboxes, and sims.
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George
George
1 month ago

Thanks

Shmigmagroza
Shmigmagroza
22 days ago

Useful guide, I noticed you listed the wrong Zin’rokh in the items list that is the one from Hakkar caused a bit of confusion in my g chat haha

Fari
Fari
18 days ago

Some have suggested that the chance of epic or rare puzzles is higher within the first ten solves, so if possible dont solve too much on your preferred faction

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