Cataclysm – Archaeology Guide 1-525

The Cataclysm expansion introduces a new secondary profession, Archaeology, available to every character alongside their primary professions. This profession immerses players in an adventure across Azeroth and beyond, delving into ancient sites to unearth artifacts and expand their collections.

Archaeology offers a plethora of unique rewards, including toys, mounts, pets, achievements, and even potent endgame gear. Notably, these rewards are account-bound, allowing players to share them across their characters. Consequently, most players focus on leveling Archaeology on a single character.

This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the Archaeology profession, empowering players to channel their inner Indiana Jones in the vast world of World of Warcraft!

Archaeology Rewards

Archaeology presents a diverse array of unique vanity items alongside several coveted pieces of gear with a remarkable item level of 359. These treasures hold immense allure for players seeking to enhance their characters, as they surpass most gear outside of Heroic raid loot. Notably, all these items are account-bound, granting players the flexibility to mail them to their alternate characters.

Given the exceptional quality of the equipment obtained through Archaeology, many players consider acquiring these items an integral part of their endgame gearing strategy.

The Last Relic of Argus130 Draenei
Ancient AmberToy100 Fossil
Arrival of the NaaruToy124 Draenei
Blessing of the Old GodToy140 Nerubian
Bones of TransformationToy150 Night Elf
Chalice of the Mountain KingsToy100 Dwarf
Druid and Priest Statue SetToy100 Night Elf
Haunted War DrumToy100 Troll
Highborne Soul MirrorToy100 Night Elf
Kaldorei Wind ChimesToy98 Night Elf
Pendant of the Scarab StormToy150 Tol’vir
Puzzle Box of Yogg-SaronToy140 Nerubian
The Innkeeper’s DaughterToy150 Dwarf
Vrykul Drinking HornToy100 Vrykul
Wisp AmuletToy150 Night Elf
Clockwork GnomePet100 Dwarf
Crawling ClawPet150 Tol’vir
Fossilized HatchlingPet100 Fossil
Pterrordax HatchlingPet120 Fossil
Voodoo FigurinePet100 Troll
Fossilized RaptorMount100 Fossil
Scepter of Azj’AqirMount150 Tol’vir
Nifflevar Bearded Axe1H Axe130 Vrykul
Scimitar of the Sirocco1H Sword150 Tol’vir
Zin’rokh, Destroyer of Worlds2H Sword150 Troll
Queen Azshara’s Dressing GownCloth Chest100 Night Elf
Ring of the Boy EmperorFinger150 Tol’vir
Headdress of the First ShamanMail Head130 Orc
Extinct Turtle ShellShield150 Fossil
Staff of AmmunaeStaff150 Tol’vir
Staff of Sorcerer-Thane ThaurissanStaff150 Dwarf
Tyrande’s Favorite DollTrinket150 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 ArchaeologyObtain 150 skill points in archaeology.achievement icon10
Expert in ArchaeologyObtain 225 skill points in archaeology.achievement icon10
Artisan ArchaeologistObtain 300 skill points in archaeology.achievement icon10
Master ArchaeologistObtain 375 skill points in archaeology.achievement icon10
Grand Master ArchaeologistObtain 450 skill points in archaeology.achievement icon10
Illustrious Grand Master ArchaeologistObtain 525 skill points in archaeology.achievement icon10
DiggerFind 10 unique common artifacts.achievement icon10
DiggererFind 50 common artifacts.achievement icon10
DiggerestFind 100 common artifacts.achievement icon10
I Had It in My HandFind a rare artifact.achievement icon10
Title: Assistant Professor
What was Briefly Yours is Now MineFind 10 rare artifacts.achievement icon10
Title: Associate Professor
It Belongs in a Museum!Find 20 rare artifactsachievement icon10
Title: Professor
It’s Always in the Last Place You LookRecover archaeology artifacts from each of the 9 races.achievement icon10
Seven SceptersRecover the following scepters from the various races of Azeroth.achievement icon10
Tragedy in Three ActsRecover the night elf artifacts that tell the fateful story of Pyramond and Theleste.achievement icon10
Blue StreakDiscover who slew the dread wyrm Kaldrigos by collecting artifacts.achievement icon10
The Harder they FallDiscover how orc Chieftan Hargal was killed by collecting artifacts.achievement icon10
Kings Under the MountainDiscover the artifacts of the Dark Iron thanes.achievement icon10
The Boy Who Would be KingRecover the tol’vir artifacts that tell of the rise and fall of Emperor Ninjter.achievement icon10

Learning Archaeology

In contrast to other professions accessible from level 1, Archaeology requires characters to reach level 20 before they can embark on their archaeological endeavors. However, similar to other professions introduced in Cataclysm, players can train all skill levels of Archaeology at any Archaeology trainer. Progression within the profession occurs in increments of 75 levels, requiring players to train the next tier of the skill to continue advancing further.

wow cataclysm archeology trainer

Archaeology Trainers

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)

Leveling Archaeology

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

In Cataclysm, Dwarves gain a new racial ability called Explorer, which enhances their proficiency in Archaeology. This racial trait makes Dwarves the optimal choice for delving into the world of Archaeology, as it increases the number of fragments obtainable per dig and speeds up the surveying process.

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.


To embark on your archaeological expeditions, you must first find a digsite. Each continent hosts four digsites, and after completing one, a new location will emerge on your map. These digsites are exclusive to you, ensuring that others cannot excavate artifacts from your designated sites, though you may encounter fellow adventurers with digsites in the same vicinity.

Identified by a shovel icon on the continent map, digsites are delineated by a distinct red outline when zoomed in on the zone.

wow cataclysm archeology continent map

Initially, your archaeological ventures will be limited to digsites in Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. Upon reaching skill level 300 in Archaeology, you’ll gain access to digsites in Outland. Achieving level 375 extends your exploration to Northrend, while hitting level 450 allows you to unearth artifacts in endgame Cataclysm zones.

Digsites are fixed in specific locations, meaning you may encounter the same site multiple times during your travels. Notably, digsites won’t appear in starting zones, as the characters there are too low level to engage in Archaeology.


Upon reaching a digsite, activate your Survey ability, located in the Professions tab of your Spellbook. Remember, Surveying is only possible within the confines of a digsite, delineated by the red outline on your map.

wow cataclysm archeology survey

Upon activating Survey, you’ll notice a telescope-like object appearing, indicating the general direction of the nearest artifact fragment. The attached light serves as a gauge for the distance to the fragment. Though distances may vary depending on the digsite’s size, here are some rough estimations:

  • Red: 80 yards or more
  • Yellow: 40-80 yards
  • Green: Under 40 yards
wow cataclysm archaeology telescope lights

Proceed in the direction indicated by the telescope, aligning yourself with the wider end’s orientation, and Survey once more. It may take several attempts before pinpointing the exact location. Remember, the direction indicated by the telescope forms more of a cone than a precise line. Occasionally, you might stumble upon the fragment without the telescope appearing, especially if you’re fortunate enough to find multiple fragments in the same spot.

Once you’re in close proximity to the fragment, Survey will reveal it on the ground, replacing the telescope. Simply click on the fragment to collect it.

wow cataclysm archaeology fossil

The appearance of the fragment may differ depending on the digsite’s type, but it’s typically surrounded by noticeable golden sparkles. If you’re struggling to spot it, check your minimap where it should appear as a yellow dot. Act swiftly to collect it as fragments can vanish if left unclaimed, forcing you to restart the process. Upon looting, you’ll receive multiple fragments and potentially a keystone.

After gathering from three fragments, the current digsite vanishes from your map, replaced by a new one 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 serve as the foundational item for assembling artifacts, with their type dependent on the digsite’s location. As each continent hosts only four active digsites at a time, obtaining specific fragments often entails excavating unrelated sites until the desired fragments appear. You can amass up to 200 fragments of each type.

Below is a table detailing the various fragment types, the skill level needed to excavate them, and the locations where they can be found. Location names are ranked by the frequency of the fragment type in each area, with the top location being the most favorable for finding it.

Fragment TypeLevelLocations
Dwarf1Eastern Kingdoms
Fossil1Eastern Kingdoms
Night Elf1Kalimdor
Eastern Kingdoms
Troll1Eastern Kingdoms
Eastern Kingdoms
Tol’vir450Kalimdor – Uldum only


Excavating fragments may occasionally yield keystones, tradeable items purchasable on the Auction House. These keystones serve two main functions: providing buffs in endgame dungeons (refer to the Archaeology Dungeon Quests section below) or aiding in artifact completion.

Each keystone is equivalent to 12 fragments of the same type. However, only 1-3 keystones can be used per artifact, necessitating the collection of fragments alongside keystones. Notably, there is no keystone available for fossils. Below is a list of all keystones and their corresponding artifact types.

Draenei TomeDraenei
Dwarf Rune StoneDwarf
Highborne ScrollNight Elf
Nerubian ObeliskNerubian
Orc Blood TextOrc
Tol’vir HieroglyphicTol’vir
Troll TabletTroll
Vrykul Rune StickVrykul


Opening your Archaeology profession window and clicking on the blue bookmark on the right reveals your ongoing research projects. Each time you obtain a new fragment type, a new project begins, remaining until completion. However, you cannot select which artifact to work on; the game randomly chooses one for you. Consequently, if you’re seeking a specific reward, you might need to complete numerous artifacts of the same type before obtaining your desired project.

wow cataclysm archaeology races

When you click on a race, its current research project unfolds. Typically, these yield common artifacts, marked with gray or white quality, suitable for vending and earning gold. Occasionally, you’ll uncover a rare artifact, rewarding valuable items like toys, pets, mounts, or endgame gear. A complete list of these rare artifacts is available in the Archaeology Rewards section at the top of this guide.

A progress bar displays the number of fragments you’ve amassed for that type. Beneath it, hexagonal sockets await keystones of the same type. Most common artifacts offer one keystone slot, while rare artifacts feature three. Each keystone inserted adds the equivalent of 12 fragments to your progress bar.

wow cataclysm archaeology delicate music box

Once the progress bar reaches full capacity, the Solve button transitions to a vivid red hue, signaling that it’s ready for action. Clicking it initiates the creation process, crafting the item while retaining any leftover fragments. Simultaneously, a new research project materializes, and the newly minted item finds its way into your inventory.

To peruse your collection of completed artifacts, simply click on the purple bookmark nestled within the Archaeology window.

Archaeology Dungeon Quests

For characters who have honed their Archaeology skills to a proficiency of at least 425, a new avenue of adventure unfolds within select high-level dungeons. These dungeons host repeatable quests that beckon you to offer up a specific keystone in exchange for a distinctive party-wide boon throughout the dungeon’s duration.

Outlined below are the various buffs alongside their corresponding quests and requisite keystones.

Blackrock CavernsDark Iron Contingency PlanDwarf Rune StoneDark Iron Contingency Plan
Halls of OriginationMap of the ArchitectsTol’vir HieroglyphicMap of the Architects
The StonecoreMight of the EarthenDwarf Rune StoneMight of the Earthen
The Vortex PinnacleWhispers of the DjinnTol’vir HieroglyphicWhisper of the Djinn
Lost City of the Tol’virTol’vir HeiroglyphicsTol’vir HieroglyphicTol’vir Secrets
Grim BatolVengeance of the WildhammerDwarf Rune StoneVengeance of the Wildhammer
Throne of the TidesWaters of EluneHighborne ScrollWaters of Elune
Zul’AmanZul’Aman VoodooTroll TabletAmani Power
Zul’GurubZul’Gurub VoodooTroll TabletCall o’ da Raptor