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WoW Cataclysm Archaeology Leveling Guide 1-525

Now that Cataclysm is out and many people are hitting 85, there are probably a lot of you wondering about the new secondary profession, Archaeology. It’s a fairly straightforward profession, however there are some points where it can get a bit confusing. There are also a few things you should do while leveling up to gain skill the fastest in and get the great new items and achievements avalible at the higher skill levels. Just sit back and read on! I’ll give you all the details you need get to Illustrious Grand Master Archaeologist as fast as possible.

I highly recommend you level your Archaeology as you level your character so that when you start getting the good items from Archaeology you will actually be able to use them. To hit 85 as fast as possible and max out your Archaeology you should check out this leveling guide. (Or look here for our review.)
Before I go over all the details I want to give you one tip (just in case you’ve already started digging things up.) Don’t “Solve” any Artifacts till you have reached 100 skill or very close to it. Up to 100 skill you get skillups for just looting the fragments, however, after that you only get skillups by “Solving” Artifacts.


Ok, first and most important are Digsites. They are the only place you can use your Survey ability. Digsites show up on your main map as little shovel icons.


If you click on a zone on the main map they will show up as a reddish-orange (or sometimes gray) overlay.

red zone

You can only use your survey ability while you are in one of these zones. (If you don’t see any Digsites marked on your main map, make sure the “Show Digsites” box is checked. )

show digsites

Here are some basic facts about digsites:

  • There are only 4 digsites on any continent at any time.
  • A digsite will disappear after you Survey and find fragments 3 times.
  • A new digsite will appear at a random place on the continent after you clear a currently available digsite.
  • Digsites become available on more continents (like Outland and Northrend) as you get to higher skill levels.
  • All digsites are player-specific! This means that you don’t have to worry about any other players stealing your finds like they can with Mining or Herbalisim. They can’t see anything you survey.


When you get to your local digsite you’ll want to start finding some Fragments (of historical value) right away. In order to find Fragments you need to use your Survey skill. When you use the Survey skill a Survey tool will appear to show you which way to go to find the Fragments, as well as how close you are to them.

The Survey tool looks like a large telescope with a light next to it. The telescope points in the direction you need to go and the color of the light lets you know how close you are.

Red means you are far away (100-150 yards), yellow means you are getting closer (30-40 yards), and green means you are very close (maybe 10 yards).

Once you find fragments and loot them, you will get 3 to 6 Archaeology Fragments and maybe a Keystone. The Fragments are a type of currency so you will not see them in your bags. The Keystones, however, do go into your Bags. (More on Keystones in the next section)

The type of fragments you can find depends on your skill level.

  • 1-300: Dwarf, Fossil, Night Elf, and Troll
  • 300-375: Draenei and Orc (Digsites in Outland)
  • 375-450: Nerubian and Vrykul (Digsites in Northrend)
  • 450+: Tol’vir (Randomly in Kalimdor)

To make an Artifact you will first need to aquire the required amout of Fragments. At the lower levels it’s around 25 fragments per artifact. To create the rare Atrifacts at higher levels it can take upwards of 100 Fragments, though.

The Keystones that you find through use of your Survey skill are green quality items that are worth 12 fragments for the Keystone’s Race. Once you loot a Keystone, and after you finish the current Artifact, you will see one or more hexagons below the progression bar of that Race’s window. Click on that hexagon to put the Keystone in the slot before you click ‘Solve’ to help finish that Artifact. (Picture)

Try to avoid completing any artifacts until you’ve reached 100 skill since you will no longer be able to gain skill by surveying after level 100.

Getting to 100 Skill:

First you need to find your trainer in either Orgrimmar or Stormwind and train the Apprentice Archaeology. Talk to either “Belloc Brightblade” or “Harrison Jones” depending on which city you are in.

For the first 100 skill levels only level your skill by using Survey and not using the “Archaeology” ability at all.

Levels 100-525:

After you reach 100 skill you will only be able to gain more skill by “solving” Artifacts. When you do this you will gain 5 skill points as well as an item. Usually this item is only worth a few silvers to gold, but sometimes at the higher skill levels you will find rare items. You can find BoEs, mounts, very nice weapons, and even some BoA (Bind on Account) items.

Good luck and See ya ’round kid!

Click here to get to the level cap, fast.

9 thoughts on “WoW Cataclysm Archaeology Leveling Guide 1-525”

    1. I believe that’s the case, yes. Get 450 first (yeah, I know it’s a bit dull…) Also, keep in mind that your chances aren’t great. Odds are you will be doing a lot of digging before you get the thing. Here’s hoping you get lucky!

      Read some of the comments on this page for some more complete info. One of the comments shows the math for your chances to get lucky.

  1. i don’t get it.. What do you get out of this? new player here and trying to find out what is the point of getting this profession….Do you get armor/weapons from it, mats, or something else…

    1. It’s pretty much only good for getting vanity items like pets and mounts. You can also make some money from selling the gray items you find.

    2. Its pretty good specially on panderia, because there is a lot of dailies quest that require archy, also like he said you can get soon rare battle pets and gear. For example I get a polearm which will be account bound with a 9462-14193 damage; 3285.4 dps 899 agility and 1349 stamina with an item level 463 and requires level 85. I mailed to my alternate character when they reach 85 and I been the number one on dps in the dungeons.

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