Archaeology Icon World of Warcraft Archaeology (Profession)e
LocationsRewardsTrainersFragment CoordinatesEconomical training

Archaeology is a secondary profession that was released in the expansion World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

  • Limited to players who have purchased the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Cataclysm expansion, even though it involves some low-level activity.[1]
  • Character must be at least level 20 to learn Apprentice Archaeology.[citation needed]]​
  • Intended as a casual profession for players to enjoy in their "downtime".[2]
  • Focused on locating, piecing together, and appraising artifacts unearthed by the Cataclysm.[2]
  • Interacting with an artifact you find is similar to other gathering professions. It has been specifically stated that you will be able to track both Artifacts and your regular "tracking" for gathering professions. Instead of tracking individual nodes, you will instead search marked regions on the world map (a shovel icon when viewing an entire continent, or a red enclosed region when viewing a single zone).
  • Common artifacts will become grey items in your inventory that sell for a small amount, but the information on them will be viewable in your profession window. Rare artifacts have been seen to be rare or epic items as well as pets.
  • Placing an artifact in your journal will allow you to "study" it and progressively unlock new rewards.[2]
  • Unlocks unique rewards such as vanity pets, mounts, and other "toys", with occasional rare quality weapons or armor.[2]
  • Players will be able to read ancient runes found amidst ruins and in dungeons to provide themselves and other players with buffs.[2]
  • Some items and discoveries will be heavily geared towards expanding the game's lore, filling in plot holes, and documenting the history of the world as it was before the Cataclysm.[2] Players will reportedly be able to compile what amounts to a lore database.[3]
  • A mock-up of the Archaeology interface is presented as a hand-written journal, with a listing of artifacts, relics, and related reagents and tasks, as well as artwork and a description for each relic. Artifacts are also given a "black market value", indicating that they can perhaps be sold for profit. There has been an indication that your journal may come with some form of "mini-game" to study findings.


Upon learning the Archaeology secondary profession the player receives the ability Inv misc shovel 01.png[Survey].

There are 12 fields of research players can explore, most relating to a race in the game: Draenei, Dwarf, Nerubian, Night Elf, Orc, Tol'vir, Troll, Vrykul, Mogu, Pandaren, Mantid and non-race Fossil.

Using the Survey skill players need to gather Archaeology Fragments of one type (e.g. [Dwarf Archaeology Fragment]) from Archaeology Finds of the same type. Once enough fragments have been accumulated, they can then complete or solve a project in the current stage of this race's research and will receive an item upon doing so.

While Archeology has no specific use as a Profession and is intended for the more casual gamers and players keen on exploring Azeroth, other worlds, and their lore, it grants experience points both for Fragments and completing the Artifacts.

How archaeology works

As relayed by Ghostcrawler... [4]


Once Archaeology is trained, you can see digsites on your map (not mini-map). There are always four dig sites per continent and sometimes two dig sites can appear in the same region. These will not change until you dig one out.

You only find sites in zones of your level or lower. A level 25 character will have all 4 sites per continent in level 25 zones. This means that no dig sites will appear for that character in Outland or Northrend until he reaches a minimum level for the zones.

Sites are race specific. You can usually guess the race by the location. Some race locations are only available on some continents. You need both a minimum character level and a minimum archaeology level to use some sites.

Dig sites are player specific. There is no competition for dig sites.


Each digsite can be searched 6 times before it despawns and a new site spawns. To search a digsite, use the [Survey] ability. The Survey tool will spawn and point in the approximate direction of the artifact. The Survey tool spawns beside you on the ground and looks like a telescope on a tripod. Walk in the direction that the telescope is pointing, and use Survey again. Repeat doing this until a lootable object appears.

The telescope points roughly to the artifact, the closer you are, the more accurate the direction. Beside it is a rod with a light on the top. A red light means you are far away(80+ yards away), a yellow light means you are closer(40-80 yards), and a green light means you may be within 40 yards or so. A red light reading also has the worst accuracy - it is usually best to take several readings to determine the direction. When the green light begins blinking, you are usually within just a few steps of the artifact. When you discover your find, you'll get fragments specific to a particular race. Note that any race can hunt any other race's artifacts. You are not limited to just yours.

There are two main strategies to surveying. You can attempt to triangulate by moving around the outer edge of a digsite. Other people orienteer, simply heading off in the direction indicated until they strike paydirt.

When you have picked up your artifact, be sure to Survey again in that exact spot. Sometimes the artifact will spawn again in the same place.

Fragment detection in Legion

World of Warcraft: Legion This section concerns content exclusive to Legion.

New fragment detection glow

Starting in World of Warcraft: Legion Legion, when a character is very close to an artifact, a glow with a shovel handle will appear above their head. If they use the [Survey] ability, the lootable object should appear nearby.


For each race in archaeology (with the exception of Fossil) keystones exist that can be randomly looted when searching for fragments. When completing an artifact, there may be a space at the bottom of the solve page where one or more keystones can be used to give +12 fragments each to the artifact being completed. Any fragments that go over the amount needed to complete the current artifact will carry over to the next puzzle.

They are:

Night Elf: Highborn Scroll, Troll: Troll Tablet, Dwarf: Dwarven Rune Stone, Orc: Orc Blood Text, Draenei: Draenei Tome, Vyrkul: Vyrkul Rune Stick, Nerubian: Nerubian Obelisk, Tol'vir: Tol'vir Hieroglyphic

It is worth noting that keystones are not bind-on-pickup, and as such can be sold on the auction house or passed to other characters if you do not need them for your own archaeology. They can also be used at the entrance to Cataclysm dungeons to provide a buff to the entire party, though each dungeon requires a specific runestone for the buff to be activated and it is destroyed in the process.


When you get a new fragment, you'll start a research project. You can only work on one artifact per race at a time. When you have enough fragments, click Solve to complete that artifact. You won't waste excess fragments, they will just start the next project.

Most artifacts are common. These give a bit of lore or flavor text and an item you can sell for a small profit. You'll still have the description in your journal regardless of what you do with the physical item, so it's ok to sell them. You can estimate the value of the artifact by the number of fragments required to finish it.

You will only be able to work on one artifact for a given race at a time. Once one artifact for a given race is completed, the next one will appear in your journal and you cannot continue until you complete it.

Some artifacts are rare, requiring many more fragments to complete than common artifacts, and make a blue or purple item. Many of these are toys, or for flavor, but some are actual weapons and armor. Weapons and armor are bound to account, but will not scale like heirlooms do.

(Note for scripts: You must have opened your Completed Artifacts list in order for the script to work as of your current solve statuses) If you want to see how many artifacts you have solved for the individual races, use the following script in a macro

/run print("Total artifacts"); for x=1,9 do local c=GetNumArtifactsByRace(x); local a =0; for y=1,c do local t = select(9, GetArtifactInfoByRace(x, y)); a=a+t;end local rn = GetArchaeologyRaceInfo(x); if( c > 1 ) then print(rn .. ": " .. a); end end

If you want to see how many artifacts you have solved in total, use the following script in a macro

/run print("Total artifacts"); local a =0; for x=1,9 do local c=GetNumArtifactsByRace(x); for y=1,c do local t = select(9, GetArtifactInfoByRace(x, y)); a=a+t;end end if(a>0) then print("Total" .. ": " .. a); end


Questionmark-medium.png This section concerns content that is potentially inaccurate.

Unlike most professions, proficiencies don't mean that much in that they generally only restrict investigating specific dig sites.

Proficiency Level Skill
Apprentice 5 1 - 75
Journeyman 5 50 - 150
Expert 10 125 - 225
Artisan 25 200 - 300
Master 40 275 - 375 World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
Grand Master 55 350 - 450 World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
Illustrious 75 425 - 525 World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Zen Master 80 500 - 600 World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria
Draenor Master 90 600 - 700 World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

eGrand Master is only available after installing the expansion World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Wrath of the Lich King.

Illustrious Grand Master is only available after installing the expansion World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Cataclysm.

Zen Master is only available after installing the expansion World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Mists of Pandaria.

Draenor Master is only available after installing the expansion World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor Warlords of Draenor.

Legion Master is only available after installing the expansion World of Warcraft: Legion Legion.


Main article: Archaeology trainers

Horde players learn Archaeology from certain NPCs belonging to The Reliquary faction, Alliance players do so at Explorers' League NPCs.

Levels can be learned at skill level 1, 50, 125, 200, 275, 350, 425

Alliance Alliance e Horde Horde
IconSmall Human Male.gif Alliance Harrison Jones Royal Library, Stormwind City IconSmall BloodElf2 Male.gif Horde Belloc Brightblade Grommash Hold, Orgrimmar
IconSmall Dwarf Male.gif Alliance Doktor Professor Ironpants Ironforge IconSmall Tauren Male.gif Horde Otoh Greyhide Thunder Bluff
IconSmall NightElf Male.gif Alliance Hammon The Jaded Darnassus IconSmall Undead Male.gif Horde Adam Hossack Undercity
IconSmall Draenei Female.gif Alliance Diya The Exodar World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade IconSmall BloodElf2 Female.gif Horde Elynara Silvermoon City World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
IconSmall Dwarf Female.gif Alliance Gerdra Fardelve Hellfire Peninsula World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade IconSmall BloodElf2 Female.gif Horde Sirabel Hellfire Peninsula World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
IconSmall Dwarf Female.gif Alliance Falda Fardelve Borean Tundra World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King IconSmall BloodElf2 Male.gif Horde Lindarel Borean Tundra World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
IconSmall Dwarf Male.gif Alliance Hugen Goldwise Howling Fjord World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King IconSmall Undead Male.gif Horde Ian Thomas Wall Howling Fjord World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
IconSmall Human Female.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif Alliance Stephanie Krutsick Darkshore    
Neutral Neutral
IconSmall Broken Male.gif Neutral Boduro the Seeker Shattrath City World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
IconSmall BloodElf2 Female.gif Neutral Dariness the Learned Dalaran World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King


Icon-time.svg This section concerns content that is out-of-date. Reason: Needs World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Mists of Pandaria update.

Archaeology has set skill levels at which players can solve artifacts from different cultures. Fragments collected before players reach the appropriate level are hidden from view until they have reached the appropriate level for that culture and have found more fragments from that culture, at which time the previously collected fragments for that culture are made available.

The following are the current levels:

Culture Level Primary Location
Dwarf 1 Eastern Kingdoms; Kalimdor
Fossil 1 Eastern Kingdoms; Kalimdor
Night Elf 1 Eastern Kingdoms; Kalimdor; Northrend
Troll 1 Eastern Kingdoms; Kalimdor; Northrend
Draenei 300 Outland
Orc 300 Outland
Nerubian 375 Northrend; Eastern Kingdoms
Vrykul 375 Northrend
Tol'vir 450 Uldum

There are 2 ways to level Archaeology:

Picking up the various artifact pieces will grant one skill up. Formerly, this only worked until a skill of 50, but now digging up a piece always grants a skill point. Location does not matter - post-300 skill, digging in Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms will still grant skill-ups.


Solving for common items grants 5 levels of the Archaeology skill, while solving rare items grants 15 skill points.

Dig sites

Main article: Archaeology locations

Archaeology dig sites can be found on all four continents. There are four dig sites on each continent available at any one time. Dig sites are available based on player skill. However, unlike other gathering professions, there is no competition between players. Upon reaching a dig site, players will be able to collect their three finds before the dig site dries up and a new one is made available. Even if other players are searching at the site, the finds are individual to each player. At the site/field use your survey skill (found in your spellbook on the Professions tab). Using this will spawn the Archaeology Tripod that points in the direction of the artifact/fossil you are looking for. It has a little light that will show the distance to said artifact/fossil. A slow, flashing, red light indicates a large distance up to the length of the entire dig site. A faster, blinking, yellow light seems to indicate approximately 100-300 yards, and a rapid, flashing, green light seems to indicate less than 100 yards.

Red is 80+ yards, yellow 40-79 yards, Green, Less than 40 yards.


Main article: Archaeology rewards

Archaeology was originally intended to allow advancement in the now-scrapped Path of the Titans system, and would have reportedly awarded players with Ancient Glyph slots and recipes. At present, known rewards include various non-combat items as well as the occasional rare​ loot. Players will be able to piece together skeletal fragments to create a skeletal raptor mount. Players can also read ancient runes found in ruins and dungeons to give buffs to themselves and others.[2]

Related Quests

It also contributes to gaining the Inv misc book 16.png [Faire Favors] achievement.



Introduction to Archaeology:



  1. ^ Blizzard Entertainment. Archaeology. Official World of Warcraft Community site (US). “Requires Cataclysm
       Blizzard Entertainment. Archaeology. Official World of Warcraft Community site (EU). “Requires Cataclysm
  2. ^ a b c d e f g
  3. ^
  4. ^ Ghostcrawler 2010-09-11. How Archaeology works. Archived from the original on 2010-09-11.

See also

External links

For leveling guides please visit Tradeskill leveling guides

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