When Cataclysm was released last year, a new profession became available. Archaeology is a secondary profession which came in with Cataclysm. Archaeology is also a great way to level up your character. I had a friend who leveled up his character 15 levels on Archaeology alone. You can train for Archaeology at level 20 or higher. Usually there will be a trainer in each faction’s major cities. Once learned, one can go out and venture like Indiana Jones. In order to do this, you will need to check your map out and see where you might find the dig sites. The dig sites will only be available in your character’s zone level. For example, if you are level 20, the dig sites will only pop up in the zones where you can access. When you open up your map, you will see a small icon which looks like a shovel which will signify a dig site. You may have to zoom out to a larger area such as Eastern Kingdoms or Kalimdor to view where you can go for a dig site.
Once you have found which dig site you want to go to, simply travel to that specific zone and when you arrive open your map again. You will see a red area on your map as to where you can start digging.
How To Survey
You will use your survey icon to find out where the artifacts in that area are. Simply click on the icon and it will display a survey tool in front of you which has a telescope pointing in a specific direction. Beside the telescope is a rod with a light on it. If the light is red, it means you are about 80+ yards away. If the light is yellow, it means you are around 40-80 yards away. If the light is green, it means you are within 40 yards away. If the green light is blinking it means you are a few steps away from the artifact. Once you do find the artifact, you will see a cogwheel on it for you to click on and pick up. There are only 3 artifacts per dig site. Once you get your 3 artifacts, you will repeat the search on your map for another dig site. You will only be able to search Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor until you are level 300 on your Archaeology. At that point, you can search Outlands for dig sites. Once you reach level 375 you can search Northrend and once you reach level 450 you can begin searching for dig sites in Uldum.
Once you collect fragments from the dig sites, you will need to put together the fragments and solve them so to speak. For example, if you have collected 35 Dwarf artifacts, you can now solve one which will give you 5 level points.
You can find certain texts and scrolls which can be applied to help you solve faster. These texts or scrolls are found from the artifacts you dig up. The can also be sold on the Auction House and net you some extra gold. You can level up from 1 to 50 by collecting fragments. Once you hit level 50 on your Archaeology, you will need to level up by solving. Each time you solve, you get major experience depending your character level. My level 66 Death Knight was receiving around 12-13k experience per artifact I collected. I went up 2 levels on collecting artifacts alone.
Gaining major XP is a nice reward in itself, but how about finding 2 more new mounts? One can piece together fragments to discover the Fossilized Raptor or the Scepter of Azj’Aqir. Not to mention there are various non-combatant companions or vanity pets that can be discovered by solving or piecing together the fragments you find from specific races. There are even some BOA (Bind To Account) gear and weapons that can be discovered. For a full list of all the items please visit WOWpedia.
Archaeology can be a great dig for leveling your character and getting extra goodies from it. Remember, the more you dig, the more you level. Happy Digging!