A hobby of late I got in the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Beta is to level up Archaeology profession. It is definitely the most time consuming of the secondary professions and probably the most rewarding one. It allows you to learn a bit more about the lore of each race, while giving you rare rewards for all the trouble.

It’s not a profession you can level up fast because you require several fragments per artifact to gain five points in your profession level. Sometimes an artifact requires 35 fragments. Rare artifacts might go as high as 100 fragments. You get random amounts of fragments per survey. Usually 2-4 fragments. Each dig site only have three survey attempts before you get an error message that you can’t survey anymore there.

Some of these artifacts have a keystone slot, while rare artifacts can have up to three keystone slots. These are very helpful to cut down the amount of fragments needed. Keystones are random loot from dig sites that add up +12 fragments. Very helpful.

Players with the ability to fly in Azeroth at 310% speed will find themselves going back and forth through Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, Northrend and even Outland in search of dig sites.

Where do I find the Archaeology Trainer?

In Cataclysm Beta, you can find the following Archaeology Trainers: Belloc Brightblade at Grommash Hold in Orgrimmar; and Harrison Jones can be found in the Royal Library of Stormwind Keep — head to the left when standing in front of King Varian in the throne room. There you will see a garden. The Royal Library is to the right.

How does Archaeology work?

Once you learn Archaeology with the trainer, open your Spellbook and click on the professions tab. Drag the Survey tool icon and the Archaeology icon to your spellbar. The dig tool allows you to gather fragments in dig sites. In order to see the locations of these dig sites, open your map to display the entire continent. You can see a small dig tool icon over the dig site. You will see up to four icons per continent. Placing your mouse cursor over the icon will tell you the location’s name. When you are in the region of the dig site, the map will show a silhouette around the dig site and the space within will be a solid orange to let you see the boundaries where you can dig fragments.

When you click the Survey icon in a dig site, a telescope on a tripod and a gadget appear. The gadget is some kind of staff with a light at the top. These two items serve to help you determine where to find a fragment.

The telescope tells you what direction to go. Align your character to go in the direction the telescope is pointing at. The second gadget will inform you how close or how far from your character is the fragment. Red means it is far away. Yellow means you are getting close. Green means you are within a few yards from the fragment. Sometimes you must triangulate and figure out where the object is based on the last position you summoned the telescope at and the new one. When you find the fragment, click on it to loot the fragment.

So, I got the fragment. What now?

Click the Archaeology icon that you dragged into the spellbar, and a book page will open up. To the right edge of the book you will see two tabs: Current Artifacts and Completed Artifacts.

The Current Artifacts tab opens a page with emblems of each race. Let’s say you click the Night Elf emblem. You will see a brief history of the Night Elf race. On the top-left you will see the next artifact you will find after completing the different Night Elf fragments. At the top-center you see your Archaeology level (i.e. 226/300). To the top-right is a pull-down menu to browse through pages of each race. At the bottom of the Night Elf page you will see the amount of fragments you have gathered so far for this current artifact, and how many fragments you need to complete the artifact.

You can trash the common artifacts. They aren’t worth much at vendors and take too much bag space. However, from time to time as you increase levels you will find rare artifacts such as the Fossilized Hatchling, Fossilized Mount or the Druid and Priest Statue Set.

At level 226, I have only found the hatchling and the statue set. The hatchling is a vanity pet and the statue summons a fountain of knowledge. Your character is bathed with a wide beam of green light, with holy light in its center. Your character is showered with green leaves too. The effect lasts ten seconds, and has a one minute cooldown.

Beneath you can watch a video of how archeology works, and as a bonus the Fossilized Hatchling and the Druid and Priest Statue Set effect. Choose between 360 pixels up to 1080 HD video settings depending your internet connection speed and the Zoom In button.