Cataclysm Classic Archaeology Leveling Guide 1-525

This Cataclysm Classic Archaeology leveling guide will teach you the basics about this profession and shows you how to level it up to 525.

Archaeology is a secondary profession, so you won't gain any real end-game passive benefit from it like with other professions. Most items you can get, like pets, toys, and mounts, have no in-game power. There are also epic and rare armors, even for level 85 players, but they won't be as good as an end-game Blacksmithing item. This profession is mostly for fun; you don't need to have Archaeology. It's optional.

Table of Contents

Archaeology Trainers

This is the full list of Archaeology trainers in Cataclysm Classic. You can train every rank of Archaeology from every trainer.



Dig Sites

Once you learn Archaeology, open up your map and zoom out to the continent level. You will see little shovel symbols on your map. Those are the dig sites.

There are always 4 dig sites per continent, and it won't change on logout, server restart, or anything; you have to dig one out to get a new dig site. These dig sites are player-specific, you don't have to worry about competition.

Surveying Dig Sites

You will find the Survey ability in your spellbook's profession tab. This ability is used for finding and digging out artifact fragments.

Step 1

Go to a dig site, and use Survey. A little telescope on a tripod will spawn.

Step 2

Check which direction the little telescope points to. Then, check its color. Red means you are far away, yellow means you are kinda close, and green means the artifact fragment is less than 30 yards away.

Step 3

Move in the direction it points and use the use Survey again. Repeat until an artifact pops up instead of the telescope.

When you loot 3 fragments in a dig site, you can no longer dig there, and a new area will show up on your map.

TIP: After digging something up, use Survey again. Sometimes, the next one will be in the same spot.

Solving Artifact Projects

When you loot your first artifact fragment, you will start a research project specific to a particular race, and when you have enough fragments, you can click the little Solve button to complete that Artifact. If you have excess fragments, they won't go to waste. They will start a new project.

Every time you complete an artifact of a certain race, you will be assigned a new artifact of that race.

Unfortunately, you cannot control which research projects you get. So, you will have to complete the same research projects multiple times with a particular race until you get the one you wanted in the first place.

Archaeology Races

Dig sites will belong to one of the 9 archaeology races. The race with which each site is associated will determine the type of fragments you gain when you Survey the site.

Skill Req. Zone Race
1 Eastern Kingdoms/Kalimdor Fossil, Night Elf, Troll, Dwarf
300 Outland Draenei, Orc
375 Northrend Nerubian, Vrykul
450 Uldum Tol'vir


When you loot a fragment at a dig site, you sometimes get keystones like Troll Tablet, Highborne Scroll, Dwarf Rune Stone, etc. You can use these to speed up your research a little bit.

A slot appears on some artifacts where you can place one. Not every artifact, but rare artifacts will often let you use two or three at once. The keystone will increase your fragment count by 12.

This table below shows you the full list of keystones you can find.

Race Keystone
Troll Troll Tablet
Night Elf Highborne Scroll
Dwarf Dwarf Rune Stone
Fossil No Keystone
Orc Orc Blood Text
Draenei Draenei Tome
Nerubian Nerubian Obelisk
Vrykul Vrykul Rune Stick
Tol'vir Tol'vir Hieroglyphic

Rare Artifacts

The majority of artifacts you solve are usually worthless gray vendor trash like Skull-Shaped Planter but occasionally you will get a rare artifact like mounts, pets, toys, BoA armors and weapons.

For the full list of Archaeology rares you can discover in Cataclysm Classic, please see my separate page:

Full List of Archaeology Rares

Leveling Cataclysm Archaeology


Survey dig sites until 50; save all your fragments for now, and don't solve any artifact yet. Surveying will stop giving skill points at 50, so saving the fragments for later is better.


When you reach 50, you will stop gaining skill-ups for Surveying so you can start solving Artifacts.

You will get 5 skill points for any artifact you solve (15 for rare ones), no matter which race it's for. It takes about 25-30 hours to level up Archaeology to 525.

Don't forget to visit your trainer between these levels:

  • 50-75: Journeyman
  • 125-150: Expert
  • 200-225: Artisan
  • 275-300: Master
  • 350-375: Grand Master
  • 425-450: Illustrious Grand Master