Mrs B’s noob guide to Archaeology

The little gems that are secondary professions! They can be quite confusing if you’re new to the game, so I shall attempt to shed some light on them. I’ll start at the very beginning, with Archaeology.

The Basics

  • 4 secondary professions: Archaeology, Fishing, Cooking, First Aid
  • Learnt from the appropriate trainer in each city: ask a guard then look for the arrow on your mini-map (I didn’t realised it showed you the way – thick or what!)
  • Broken down into levels of 75 points (although you can train the next level after 50 points) which you need to go back to the trainer in order to progress. I definitely did not grind for an hour before realising I couldn’t gain more points because I hadn’t trained…
  • Accessed by pressing ‘P’, clicking ‘Professions’ (the little tab at the bottom of the pop up page), then pulling both out (shift+click) onto your toolbar.


Archaeology in 3 steps:

  1. Survey the area to find artifacts
  2. Find then loot artifacts
  3. Solve artifacts to create items to vendor or use

Getting started

  • You need to be level 20.
  • No need for anything but you and your map. Have empty bags as you’ll collect a lot of stuff to vendor.
  • This is a LOT easier with the flying skill of any speed – I admire you if you’re attempting this whilst levelling.
  • Train at the trainer then open your map – see those tiny little – almost invisible  – spades dotted around the place? Yeah those. Click on it, this will open the area (e.g., Western Plaguelands or Northern Stranglethorn).There are 4 active at any one time on any one continent.


  • Now see the red highlighted area on the map? That’s where you have to go. Yes, they’re dotted all over, and yes, it takes forever. Suck it up.


Levelling Up

  • So, assuming you’ve found your way to the first dig site, (see my “Noob Guide to Azerothian Worlds for help on this very confusing subject!!) all you need to do now is press the ‘survey’ button which looks like a spade (see picture above). I would keep this out on your main interface – you’ll be using it a lot.
  • Once you’ve pressed it, it will work its magic and sprout up an instrument – looks a bit like a telescope with a flashing light on it.
  • The telescope points the way of the next fragment of artifact you’re looking for. Red means you’re far away, yellow means you’re not that far away, and green means you’re pretty damn close. Move in the direction, keep hitting the survey button. When you discover it, a fragment will appear. Click it to loot it. You will get upto 7 fragments per loot.

Solving Artifacts

  • Open up the archaeology page by clicking the symbol (in pic above). It’ll look like this:


  • Blue tab on the right shows your artifacts in progress, the purple one below it shows what you have already solved.
  • Each area of the world has different artifacts to discover depending on the races that preside there. As you can see, I have only uncovered some of them and a lot are currently in progress (10/50 Pandaren for example). Depending on which 4 are active and which continent you are in, you have a limited selection at any one time which – as I’m sure you’ve gathered – means it’s a long process to solve each artifact.
  • Once you have the required amount of fragments, you go to your archaeology page and click it to solve it. The solved artifacts either vendor for gold or can be used (mounts, pets etc). The rarer it is, the more you need. Joys.
  • Each fragment you dig up nets you 1 skill up point, each solved artifact gives 5 and rares give 15. REMEMBER TO TRAIN OR YOU WON’T GET CREDIT. I totally didn’t ever forget…
  • Each location only holds a few fragments, so you can’t stay there indefinitely – see, I wasn’t lying when I said flying helps!
  •  What you discover and in which order is entirely random. So cross your fingers and toes and hope what you want comes up quickly. I got the Fossilised Raptor and the Clockwork Gnome somewhere between 500 and 600 points and haven’t had anything since. Typical.


For an enthusiast like myself, archaeology holds a whole world of undiscovered achievements (I hope you like my pun there). Along with the milestones for 150, 225, 300, 375, 450, 525 and 600 points there are also a whole host of others…

  • Finding certain numbers of common artifacts
  • Finding certain numbers of rare artifacts (a nice title comes with these too!)
  • Storyline achievements – finding artifacts relating to lore.

WoWdigs is a really comprehensive site which goes into much more detail than I have space for, especially on achievements and mounts/pets:

Happy Hunting !!

2 thoughts on “Mrs B’s noob guide to Archaeology

  1. I’m a little guilty of ignoring archeology a bit. But I think when my current favourite character is at 85 – I will focus on levelling up his arch skill so that when I take him to Pandaria I can skill up on the quest line. There’s a title? Cool!

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