Archaeology icon Cataclysm Archaeology (Profession)

Skilling up archaeology involves selecting continents and prioritizing racial digsites. Making good choices while leveling can significantly speed up the leveling process and save you considerable time later on.

The way you make these decisions depends on your goals. This guide offers general tips for anyone skilling up archaeology, as well as tips for the completionist approach (someone who is ultimately going for all of the artifacts and related achievements) and the power-leveler (someone trying to hit 525 as fast as possible).

General tips

  • [Survey] will give skill points, but only until Archaeology is at 50, so don't Solve any projects until then. After that point, you'll gain 5 points for solving a common project, and 15 points for solving a rare one. Make sure to visit an Archaeology trainer when you get close to your current maximum.
  • Collecting fragments from digsites currently gives a very large amount of experience, which scales based on your current level and is also affected by rest and heirloom item bonuses. Its an excellent leveling option for characters that are below maximum level.
  • Archaeology Helper is an addon that will graphically depict the results of your surveys, allowing you to zero in on the artifact more quickly, particularly in large dig sites.
  • Archy - Archaeology Assistant is an addon that will help you navigate and locate sites.

Completionist Leveling

This guide will focus on the strategy for both leveling and completing all rares and achievements as quickly and efficiently as possible. Because of the random nature of Archaeology projects, you may need to adjust based on your personal luck.


Work only within Eastern Kingdoms collecting fragments, prioritizing Dwarven dig sites if they come up.

Don't solve any projects until you reach 50 skill level. After that, solve only Fossil projects until you reach 150 skill. Save all keystones for later use.

(Note: You'll be collecting many Dwarf, Night Elf, and Troll fragments, but its best to save those for later as there are no rare rewards for these races before 150. There is a maximum limit of 200 fragments per race, so you might be forced to solve non-Fossil projects, but save as many as you can until later.)


As above, continue collecting fragments in Eastern Kingdoms, prioritizing Dwarven dig sites if they come, and only solving non-fossil artifacts if you are close to the 200 fragment cap.

Night Elf projects can be used here to greatly speed the skill point leveling during this range as they are very common later on other continents, but stop using them if you happen to receive both the  [Highborne Soul Mirror] and  [Druid and Priest Statue Set].


At level 300, Outland sites become available. It is highly efficient at this point to move work to Outland - leveling until you complete all Draenei (two rares, eight commons) and Orc (one rare, nine commons) projects. Use keystones as you find them to speed this process.

When finished in Outland, return to Eastern Kingdoms and continue prioritizing Dwarven dig sites if they come up.

450 and above

You may now freely solve any and all stored fragments and keystones - all possible rewards are available. The task now is to work efficiently to finish your collection. The suggested order is:

  1. Dwarf - Continue solving projects in Eastern Kingdoms until your final rare Dwarf project appears, then stop and move to Kalimdor. There is one single Dwarven dig site (Bael Modan), and during the course of working on Tol'vir projects, you will easily finish that rare.
  2. Tol'vir and Fossil - Since Tol'vir are exclusive to Kalimdor and Fossils aren't found in Northrend, prioritize those digsites as soon as they appear for you while working on that continent.
  3. Nerubian and Vrykul - These are exclusive to Northrend, so again, prioritize those digsites as soon as they appear for you while working on that continent.
  4. Night Elf and Troll - Until you've collected all other rares from other races, there is no need to focus on these two races because they are very common throughout Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor, and Northrend.

Power Leveling

This section will provide the strategy for most quickly reaching high skill level, but greatly sacrifices efficiency in collecting rares. If there is a specific Archaeology rewards you're after, save all fragments and keystones until you've reached the appropriate minimum skill level it becomes available.


The choice of where to start largely depends on your eventual desired reward. If Dwarf or Troll, begin in Eastern Kingdoms. If Night Elf or Fossil, start in Kalimdor.

Don't solve any projects until skill level 50 - collecting fragments before that gives a guaranteed skill point. After that point, solve projects for races with rewards that don't interest you. If you have access to keystones, use them to speed the process greatly.


Outland is much smaller and easier to travel around than EK/Kalimdor, and so is good option if you don't have access to keystones or if you have no interest in specific race rewards and just want fast leveling to 525. If your desired rare is Orc or Draenei, remain in Outland until you complete it.


Northrend becomes available and is a good option if you're after a Night Elf or Troll reward. If your desired reward is Dwarf, return to work in Eastern Kingdoms. If your desired rare is Vrykul or Nerubian, remain in Northrend until you complete it.


All possible rewards are now available as project options. If you have been collecting fragments for a specific race's reward, solve projects for it now. If you don't get it, continue working in the area most likely to provide digsites for that race.

  • Eastern Kingdoms for Dwarf and Troll
  • Kalimdor for Tol'vir, Night Elf, and Fossil
  • Outland for Orc and Draenei
  • Northrend for Vrykul and Nerubian

If you found the specific item you wanted before reaching level 525, finish working in the area fastest for you based on what keystones you have. If none, than return to Outland or Northrend.

Alternatively, learn the Archaeology skill from a trainer, and begin digging in Draenor, as these dig sites are available to excavate from skill level 1.