- Author: Luxrah
- Date: October 30, 2023
- Updated: November 10, 2023
- 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 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.
The Last Relic of Argus
Arrival of the Naaru
Blessing of the Old God
Bones of Transformation
150 Night Elf
Chalice of the Mountain Kings
Druid and Priest Statue Set
100 Night Elf
Haunted War Drum
Highborne Soul Mirror
100 Night Elf
Kaldorei Wind Chimes
98 Night Elf
Pendant of the Scarab Storm
Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron
The Innkeeper’s Daughter
Vrykul Drinking Horn
150 Night Elf
Scepter of Azj’Aqir
Nifflevar Bearded Axe
Scimitar of the Sirocco
Zin’rokh, Destroyer of Worlds
Queen Azshara’s Dressing Gown
100 Night Elf
Ring of the Boy Emperor
Headdress of the First Shaman
Extinct Turtle Shell
Staff of the Ammunae
Staff of Sorcerer-Thane Thaurissan
Tyrande’s Favorite Doll
150 Night Elf
There are also many achievements you can earn through Archaeology, including three which award unique titles.
Here’s a complete list:
Journeyman in Archaeology
Obtain 150 skill points in archaeology.
Expert in Archaeology
Obtain 225 skill points in archaeology.
Obtain 300 skill points in archaeology.
Obtain 375 skill points in archaeology.
Grand Master Archaeologist
Obtain 450 skill points in archaeology.
Illustrious Grand Master Archaeologist
Obtain 525 skill points in archaeology.
Find 10 unique common artifacts.
Find 50 common artifacts.
Find 100 common artifacts.
I Had It in My Hand
Find a rare artifact.
Title: Assistant Professor
What was Briefly Yours is Now Mine
Find 10 rare artifacts.
Title: Associate Professor
It Belongs in a Museum!
Find 20 rare artifacts
It’s Always in the Last Place You Look
Recover archaeology artifacts from each of the 9 races.
Recover the following scepters from the various races of Azeroth.
Tragedy in Three Acts
Recover the night elf artifacts that tell the fateful story of Pyramond and Theleste.
Discover who slew the dread wyrm Kaldrigos by collecting artifacts.
The Harder they Fall
Discover how orc Chieftan Hargal was killed by collecting artifacts.
Kings Under the Mountain
Discover the artifacts of the Dark Iron thanes.
The Boy Who Would be King
Recover the tol’vir artifacts that tell of the rise and fall of Emperor Ninjter.
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.
There is an Archaeology trainer in every major city. Here are their names and locations:
- Boduro the Seeker – Shattrath, Lower City (62.5, 70.2)
- Dariness the Learned – Dalaran, The Legerdemain Lounge (48.5, 38.6)
- 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)
- 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)
There are three ways that you can gain skill points in Archaeology:
- 1 point when you dig up a fragment
- 5 points when you solve a common artifact
- 15 points when you solve a rare artifact
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.
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.
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 endgame 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.
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).
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
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 on the same continent.
Surveying will net you fragments and keystones, which you can use to create artifacts. We’ll explain each of these items below.
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.
Kalimdor – Uldum only
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.
Dwarf Rune Stone
Orc Blood Text
Vrykul Rune Stick
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.
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.
Dark Iron Contingency Plan
Dwarf Rune Stone
Dark Iron Contingency Plan:
Builders’ emergency measures reduces elemental damage done to you by 5%.
Only active while you remain within Blackrock Caverns.
Halls of Origination
Map of the Architects
Map of the Architects:
Knowledge of the dungeon’s architecture improves your movement speed.
Only active while you remain in the Halls of Origination.
Might of the Earthen
Dwarf Rune Stone
Might of the Earthen:
Physical damage taken is reduced by 5% while you remain in the Stonecore.
The Vortex Pinnacle
Whispers of the Djinn
Whisper of the Djinn:
Exposure to this magical smoke heals your wounds and replenishes your mana slowly over time.
Only active while you remain in The Vortex Pinnacle.
Lost City of the Tol’vir
Knowledge of tol’vir anatomy gives you 10% bonus damage against the Neferset.
Only active while you remain in the Lost City of the Tol’vir.
Vengeance of the Wildhammer
Dwarf Rune Stone
Vengeance of the Wildhammer:
While infused with the rage of the dwarves who lost their home, your critical chance is increased by 5%.
Only active while you remain within Grim Batol.
Throne of the Tides
Waters of Elune
Waters of Elune:
Coating your weapons and armor in the Waters of Elune confers a 10% bonus damage against the naga.
Only active while you remain in The Throne of the Tides.
An Amani Bear Cub sometimes comes to your aid when dealing damage to enemies.
Only active while you remain within Zul’Aman.
Call o’ da Raptor:
A Young Gurubashi Raptor sometimes comes to your aid when dealing damage to enemies.
Only active while you remain within Zul’Gurub.