Archaeology Guide

This post is my submission to The Best of the Month Blog Carnival hosted by the Not So Secret Society!

Archaeology is of course the new Secondary Profession added to World of Warcraft, Cataclysm. It can seem a bit confusing to start, but it really is very simple and actually a bit addictive. Before you get started, you’ll want to decide what your goals are regarding Archaeology.

Use Your Hearth!

Utilizing your hearthstone whenever it’s available will greatly cut down on your travel time! Before heading out in the field, remember to visit an Archaeology trainer! You can find them in any major city (ask a guard if you are having trouble finding one).

Maxing It Quick or Leveling Up.

If you are just interested in maxing out the profession at 525, or if you are only interested in it as an alternative means of leveling, you’ll want to focus your efforts in the Eastern Kingdoms. Set your Hearthstone to either Ironforge or Stormwind if you’re Alliance, or somewhere mid-continent like New Kargath if you’re Horde.

Achievements & Rare Artifacts.

If you’re planning on completing the Archaeology achievements while finding as many rare artifacts as possible, you’ll want to start your digging on Kalimdor. The reason for this is that out of the 40+ possible dig sites that can spawn on Kalimdor, only 6 of those have the chance of being in Uldum, which is the only place you can find Tol’vir artifacts. You’ll need to complete at least one Tol’vir artifact to get the “It’s Always In The Last Place You Look” achievement and have a chance at finding the Scepter of Azj’Aqir mount. I didn’t find any Tol’vir dig sites until I was 525 Archaeology and level 84, but I don’t know if this was just chance, of they don’t show up until then. Set your hearthstone someone mid-continent to help cut down on travel time, as Kalimdor can seem like a pretty big place when you have to fly from a dig site in Darkshore to one in Tanaris.

Set Up Your Bars or What Addon to get.

Once you’ve learned Archaeology and have decided where you’ll be digging, go into your Spell & Abilities book (P) and put the “Survey” icon somewhere on your bars. You’ll be clicking this a lot, so make sure it’s not tucked away in the corner of your screen. I’d also suggest putting the “Archaeology” icon somewhere on your bars as well, because you’ll need to access that window each time you wish to complete an artifact. You can also get the Archy addon from curse which take a little getting used to, but does make things a lot easier! It tracks previous artifact fragment locations and leads you to the nearest digsites without ever having to open your map. You can also solve and add keystones without going into your archaeology book and it shows you if you’ve gone a green, yellow or red distance from your last survey point, which I find tremendously helpful. Archy is definitely something you should grab if you’re going to be doing a lot of Archaeology!

Finding Dig Sites.

Open up your map, and look at the continent you are on. You should see a total of 4 shovels, which mark the dig sites that are currently available to you. There are only 4 dig sites ever available at once per continent, so if you want Fossils, but only have Night Elf dig sites available, you’ll have to complete the Night Elf sites in order to open up Fossil ones. It’s totally random, so sometimes completing a specific artifact can take a long time!


Head to your closest dig site. I find it best to start right in the middle of the site, so go there and click the “survey” button. Your survey gear will appear and point in the direction of an archaeology fragment. You’ll notice the light on your gear is either Red, Yellow or Green. Red means you aren’t near the fragment, so mount up and head in the direction your gear was pointing for a few seconds, then try again. If the light is yellow, that means you are getting close. I don’t usually mount if I get a yellow light, instead I walk in the direction it’s pointing for a few seconds (unless I need to get over a wall or something). If you drop your surveying gear and the light is green, that means you are very close to the fragment. Move in the direction it’s pointing, but only a few paces.

Archaeology Fragments.

Eventually you’ll get close enough and an archaeology fragment will appear instead of your survey gear. Pick it up and continue surveying the site. You will get 3-6 archaeology fragments per find and 3 finds in each dig site. When you pick up the fragments, they are kept in your Archaeology book, which you can access by clicking on the Archaeology icon. Here you can look at which relics you are working on, and which ones you’ve completed in the past. The relics available for you to work on are totally random, and when you complete your current one, a new one will appear. You’ll can have one relic of each race in progress at once.

Resist The Urge To Solve!

EDIT : You can now only hold up to 250 fragments for each race, so if you get close to 250 fragments, you’ll have to solve!

Unfortunately the best way to level Archaeology is by not solving any relics until you reach the skill level of 100. This is when you stop getting points for picking up fragments, and start to only get a point for solving relics (5 points for each relic). It can be hard to hold off, especially if one of your relics is a rare and you want to see what it does, but trust me, it’s worth your time to wait! Make sure you keep checking back to your Archaeology trainer to train your profession to the next levels. There’s nothing worse than solving a relic only to find out your profession is currently maxed!


Once you reach skill level 100, feel free to start solving those relics. You’ll notice that some relics have a tiny slot in the bottom of the window. You can put Keystones specific to that race into these slots that count as 12 fragments. You’ll find these when picking up fragments, and it’s a good idea to use them whenever possible! Some relics don’t have Keystone slots, but if the relic before that one did, and you used them all and ended up with 65 out of 35 fragments, those extra fragments are added onto your next relic! They are very handy, and not soulbound, so you can always check the Auction House for extras or offer to trade someone if you have too many of a certain race’s and not enough of another’s. The different Keystones are :

Troll Tablet – Troll
Highborne Scroll – Night Elf
Dwarf Rune Stone – Dwarf
Orc Blood Text – Orc
Draenei Tome – Draenei
Nerubian Obelisk – Nerubian
Vrykul Rune Stick – Vrykul
Tol’vir Hieroglyphic – Tol’vir


You’ll notice many of the Archaeology achievements require you to find certain relics. There really is no effective way to control which relics you find, so getting these achievements just take time and patience and a bit of luck. There is the achievement, “I Had It In My Hand” rewarded for finding a rare artifact, and it gives the title “Assistant Professor”. Then there’s one for solving 10 rare artifacts, “What Was Briefly Yours Is Now Mine” which gives the title “Associate Professor”. Finally there is the “It Belongs In A Museum” achievement for solving 20 rare artifacts, that rewards the title, “Professor”.

It is important to realize that this profession was designed as a time sink. You can max it out in only a couple days, and you can reach level 85 at a decent pace, but if you’re going after the “Professor” title and the Scepter of Azj’Aqir like I am, be prepared for it to take you a very long time!

If you’re interested in what rare artifacts are available, I’ve included a list of them. I’ll only explain what those which I’ve personally found do however, because I don’t want to know what the others do until I find them! I like surprises…

Rare Relics.

Fossilized Hatchling – Baby Skeleton Raptor Companion Pet
Fossilized Raptor – Skeletal Raptor Mount
Pterrordax Hatchling – Pterrordax companion pet
Ancient Amber – Seals you in amber for 5 minutes
Extinct Turtle Shell – Level 85 BoA Shield

Zin’rokh, Destroyer of Worlds – Level 85 BoA 2h sword
Haunted War Drum – Places a war drum, 30 min cooldown
Voodoo Figurine – Companion Pet

Clockwork Gnome – Tiny Mechanical Gnome Companion Pet
The Innkeeper’s Daughter
Chalice of the Mountain Kings
Staff of the Sorceror-Thane Thaurissan

Night Elf:
Highborne Soul Mirror – Creates a ghostly copy of yourself that looks at you
Druid and Priest Statue Set
Queen Azshara’s Dressing Gown
Bones of Transformation – Transforms you into a Naga for 20 seconds.
Tyrande’s Favorite Doll
Kaldorei Wind Chimes
Wisp Amulet

Headdress of the First Shaman

The Last Relic of Argus
Arrival of the Naaru – Shows the arrival of the Naru for 5 seonds

Blessing of the Old God
Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron

Nifflevar Bearded Axe

Mummified Monkey Paw
Scepter of Azj’Aqir
Staff of Ammunae
Pendant of the Scarab Storm
Ring of the Boy Emperor
Scimitar of the Sirocco


There have been a few times that a fragment has seemed out of reach. I’ve found that anytime I have an issue getting to a fragment, or getting a fragment to appear, using “walk” (the “/” key) to take baby steps in the right direction usually solves the issue. It can take a while, but I’ve always managed! The dig site I’ve had trouble with the most often is the one in the Infectus Scar in Eastern Plaguelands.

The Last Race Icon.

If you look at your Archaeology book, there is one race type at the bottom that looks like the archaeology symbol. I have no idea what this is, or how to find that type of fragments, so if you know, please PLEASE leave a comment and explain it or leave me a link to a site that can explain it!

Hopefully you all enjoy this profession as much as I have been! Good luck at those dig sites! If you have any questions at all, please feel free to leave them below in a comment and I’ll answer them a.s.a.p or you can even e-mail me at if you prefer.

Miss Mediocre <3

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83 Responses to “Archaeology Guide”

  1. Miss Mediocre says:

    Damerack : I’ve gotten all those as well, and was also so excited to see my first Tol’vir rare, until it turned out to be horrible, lol. The Pendant of the Scarab Storm is the only Tol’vir rare I’ve found because I gave up on Kalimdor after finding out how useless the pendant was, lol. I’m now trying to find the Troll rare sword, and think when I find it, I’ll also take a break from archaeology until they add in some new stuff!

  2. Miss Mediocre says:

    Damerack : Hehe yea it’s 20 for the Professor title and then 100 solves for the Diggerest achievement, but I don’t believe it gives you a title.

  3. Damerack says:

    Woah! this is taking a long time, I’m been talking to other Archeologists as I see them daily and it seems that as far as Tol’vir everyone usually gets the Scarab Pendant first, which I have also now, and then the ring of of the boy Emperor, then staff or mount and then the scimitar. You could always get lucky and get the one of those items with less tries, but I think they always go in about that order.

    From what I’ve been able to find out, only 2 people on Horde side/Laughing Skull have the scimitar. That’s not many. My advice is to do a random dungeon now and then to break up the monotony.

    I have 85/100 common find towards diggerest. I would have finished it, but I’ve been almost exclusively in Kalimdor, to get Tol’vir fragments. Once I get the Scimitar I’ll go to the other side to finish Professor. I’m at 15 rares currently.

    One thing you might want to do is save your fragments. If you don’t solve your digs, they just stack. If you’re like me at 525 max’d level and found every rare in Elf and fossil digs you don’t need to solve anything there. In the new patch, from what I hear, we are getting in the next couple of weeks, vendor finds will sell for more and they are adding rares. So don’t solve stuff for nothing, and don’t sell your solve tablets (Elf example: Highbourne scrolls) for chump change now, sell them later on the AH, they are about to be more valuable. For example I’m currently at about 2000 fragments for Night Elf, with about 50 Highborne Scrolls stored. $$$ <—- Ca$h Cow for more Mooooooolaaa!!!

    Also you might want to add the mods Archy and Gather2, it makes Arch. a bit easiler. Man I feel like Dig Dug! Ooops now I'm dating myself.

  4. Damerack says:

    One more thing, I added a rabbits foot along with my cake in my bag… hey every bit of luck counts, right?

  5. Miss Mediocre says:

    Damerack : In the next patch they are also making it so you cannot have more than 200 fragments per race at a time, though they aren’t taking away the extra fragments you have, make sure you solve them all right away after the patch for the better vendor priced relics because they do say they may take away the extra in the future! It will be great to be able to get more than a couple gold out of a few hours of Archaeology though!

    I’m still searching for that Troll sword, sitting around 95 commons solved and 17 rares, but I refuse to leave Eastern Kingdoms until I find it, lol. I do use the Archy addon and it’s great!

    Adding the rabbit foot is a great idea! I think I have a few of those kicking around, so perhaps I’ll give that a try as well! 😀

  6. DeMeNtEd says:

    lol i admire everyone on here thats high up in archaeology, i just barely got mine over 100 today, and getting to this point has been death lol, i can only imagine whats in store now that i dont get xp for finding fragments lol. flying around is death lol and my ADD kicks in and i start fishing, lol. (sry i dont really have ADD i shouldnt say i do…) but yea congrats to everyone on this post that has at least one rare =p ill keep u posted when i find my first rare….6 months from now, and thats just assuming im not fishin’ (WoW or IRL…)

    jk i dont fish IRL….just f.y.i lol dunno why, just dont lol

  7. Damerack says:

    Good to know. I’m breaking away from the pack today though and going on a guild raid. I think I just have enough of an equipment level to go to heroics. I’m at 331.

    Then back to it with the Archy. Lately it’s been almost all NE digs, up to 63 highbourne scrolls, and when I have long flights across Kalimdor when the hearth isn’t up I lay down for a short break (ya right) and then wake up to a dead Character out in the ocean somewhere. Then I have to spirit rez. which costs money. uhhhh… Good thing is my guild is like level 8 so I have reduced hearth time by 15mins. and that’s key.

    I’ll let you know when my next rare comes up. At this tol’vir rate I’ll probably get the Troll sword first.

  8. Miss Mediocre says:

    Damerack : Nice, 63 Highborne Scrolls on my server would sell for like 6000g! 😀 I also just sold a single Tol’vir Hieroglyph for 2000g, which was awesome! The gold makes the fact that I keep getting Fossil and Dwarven dig sites instead of the Troll ones I want a little easier to bear, lol.

  9. Damerack says:

    2000g lol, I only wish. Laughing Skull is plagued with farmers, driving down the price of all that stuff. I’m about a 2500 NE frags and around 86 highborne scrolls. I’m waiting for the patch to solve. wish it would get here. unmotivated, so I’m pick pocketing again for the Krol Decapitator. =P

  10. Wryggo says:


    I found your guide really complete even if I didn’t learn very much.
    Just to let you in the know, I was wondering the meaning of the 10th icon, so I search a bit on the WEB. I found a lot of guide but this one is definately the best =) It appears the 10th icon unlocks when you find all the rare stuff.
    If I succeed in that way I’ll warn you.

    Wryggo, Culte De La Rive Noire (EU)

  11. Miss Mediocre says:

    Damerack : No patch still 🙁 I’m holding onto all my solved troll artifacts and all the other race fragments I’ve collected, but my inventory is getting full! Hopefully it gets her next Tuesday as I’m pretty unmotivated now as well.

  12. Miss Mediocre says:

    Wryggo : Ooh that would be cool. I had been wondering if it had something to do with solving everything and i guess there aren’t many people out there who would have found all the rares by now to let us all know. Definitely let me know if it works when you find all the rares! I’m still working away trying to find that damn Troll sword >< lol

  13. Damerack says:

    Ok, Now at about 3,600 NE fragments, and 100 Highborne scrolls
    Fossils are now at 1,000 + fragments too. Don’t solve the ones you don’t have to, let them stack and sell them later. I know you’re solving the troll ones though. lol. I haven’t found the Krol Decapitator yet either, but I have pick pocketed a infero ruby. =) I’m going to save it and have my friend craft me a +Agility gem. Here’s the most recent update on the 4.0.6 patch for Archaeology common prices:

    I just happen to have 4 cats and a Kraken in my bag, so without solving anything I’m up 600g =) Happy Digging!

  14. Miss Mediocre says:

    Damerack : Thanks for the link! I’m disappointed they have nerfed the price of the Dwarven ring, but happy to see that a lot of the ones that were going to simply double in price, leaving their vendor values still under a gold, have now been raised so that they all sell for at least a gold! I have found a lot of those Kraken Tentacles, so I’m glad to see they will sell for so much now!

  15. Damerack says:

    Good news! It appears, baring any set backs, wow’s 4.0.6 will launch Feb. 8th, there’s a short write up in this article

    Now currently at about 4,500 NE frags and 120 highborne scrolls I’ll let you know how much gold I make for my troubles tomorrow.

  16. Damerack says:

    Turned in my NE and fossil solves this morning, made 4,500 gold.
    Not bad, but I don’t know if I’ve do it all over again. I also have 126 Highborne scrolls that are currently selling low end at about 180g a piece. Good Luck.

  17. Miss Mediocre says:

    Damerack : I was a bit disappointed with the amount of fragments I’d saved vs how much gold I ended up making. I’d done around 5 hours of Archaeology before the patch hit and saved all my fragment and only ended up making around 400g. Mind you that is much better than the 4g I would have made pre-patch, but it definitely doesn’t compare to other gold making strategies! I’ll still keep working away at it, at least the keystones are still selling well! 🙂

  18. Damerack says:

    So many Night Elf digs in Kalimador, I gave up for a while, but am back at it. 268 solves (all the rares) for NE alone, only managed 52 tolvir (2 rares) so far. 9 canopic jars in that to… all mummy poo in them. I’ll keep you updated.

  19. Miss Mediocre says:

    Damerack : I haven’t been to Kalimdor to dig since 4.0.6, but did they get any new race digsites over there? I have come across two Nerubian dig sites in Eastern Plaguelands, which is really nice since the only thing I hadn’t found from EK yet was my troll sword. Now I can (slowly) work on finishing off the Nerubian relics while searching for the sword. I was wondering if Kalimdor maybe got some Vrykul ones?

  20. alexiken says:

    About the tenth race i would guess its something coming in a future patch and if u look closely on the race icon i would guess that the 10’th race is actually a faction (explorers league) 😀

  21. Miss Mediocre says:

    alexiken : Something in a future patch is probably likely… It seems like if it was in game, someone would have discovered it by this time! Having it be for a faction would be cool! 🙂

  22. rebecca says:

    the last slot on the archaeology tab is 4 new upcoming races archaeology was made as a skill that was eazy 2 expand and upgrade and thx 4 the info was great.

  23. harlequin says:

    It’s got to be new content ‘cos I now have everything in archeology and race 10 is still not showing. I have now therefore given up and will probably fish??!!!

  24. rebecca says:

    the 10th slot wil come in a up coming patch (dont know wich)
    and i know its a new race cause a gm told me.

  25. rebecca says:

    he i have founf out a really sweet trick 4 alliance players if you want 2 travel 2 north eastern kingdoms 2 south (viseversa) land on the roof of the zeppelin in UC and take in 2 strangle (viseversa)

  26. rebecca says:

    also a good way 2 get in 2 orgrimmar

  27. Miss Mediocre says:

    rebecca : That’s a good tip, I hadn’t thought of using the zeps as Alliance but I guess it would be possible and much easier than in the old days what with flying in Azeroth now! 🙂 It will be awesome when the new race is added, I’m looking forward to something new for the profession!

  28. Miss Mediocre says:

    harlequin : You have everything? Even that nasty impossible to get troll sword!? I am jealous, lol.

  29. harlequin says:

    Well …. ok…..not the recipe for vial of the sands. I dont like the swd either. Much easier to get season 9 weapons with basically same spec. Items should have been airlooms (did I spell that right?)

  30. Miss Mediocre says:

    harlequin : Well it’s still awesome you have gotten everything else! I just wanted the sword really bad because it’s so hard to get, and I remember the original, lol.

  31. Raza says:

    Hey..thanks for the guide! Very nice website in general – keep up the good work 😉

    Lethall – Terokkar (EU)

  32. syrneia says:

    Hi Ms :] was looking to see if there were any artifacts I was missing so began looking for lists..
    I found I have rares not listed on other sites and have yet to find a TRUE list..? Have you found this as well or is this a surprise? I have solved a Vyrkul Horn; a rare not listed here; are they adding new content..? (*gasp*)
    happy hunting – nice site

  33. redsonja says:

    tx this is a usefull site. wish i could find out what the last symbol is though. i wasnt lucky at anything till archaeology, i got second title in just under 4 days. doing archaeology is now my fav time waster of all. tx again

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