Archaeology was probably one of the biggest single updates in RuneScape’s long 20 year history. The skill involves excavation and restoration of artifacts in five new dig sites and features new powerful player effects in form of relics. Dexxon’s video guide shows the quickest and most efficient methods to reach level 99 Archaeology. Please click Dexxon’s video for more details of the 1-99 Archaeology guide and all the content of this guide is quoted from his video:
Kharid-et (level 5)
Infernal Source (level 20)
Everlight (level 42)
Stormguard Citadel (level 70)
Warforge (level 76)
There are 5 dig sites, and each of the dig sites has excavation hotspots, research, mysteries, rewards, and artifacts unique to that dig site ranging in level from the level a dig site is unlocked to level 118/119. For example, Kharid-et, located in the Al-Kharid desert which is your first dig site is unlocked at level 5. The first plot is the Venator remains at level 5, and the highest excavation plot is the War table debris at level 118. So, you’ll be hopping around all 5 dig sites through your leveling of Archaeology.
Then let’s get specific on how to get you to level 99 as quickly and efficiently as possible.
1. Do the highest available plot location
2. Collect enough artifacts for collections before moving on
3. Talk to Guildmaster for qualification rewards
4. When you hit level 40, you’ll unlock researchers, and as soon as they come back from their missions, send them back out again because they give you more XP, and also, you need a certain amount of hours to hit certain qualifications.
Let’s talk about some useful items to help optimize those gains.
Waterfiend Familiar straight away from the Grand Exchange. They are fairly cheap at the moment at about 120K RS3 gold per pouch. The waterfiend has a 5% chance to double material gain and Artifacts gain. If you can’t buy it, you can begin making them at level 68 Archaeology.
Auto-screener can be unlocked at level 70 Archaeology when you complete the associated Qualifications. That’s a very good idea to have as it automatically screens the soil you get while excavating. It runs on divine charges and doesn’t degrade.
You’ll also want to get Mattock upgrades every 10 levels as you progress up to the Mattock of Time and Space at level 99 which you’ll need two dragon mattocks for. So, that can be a bit expensive if you are not doing the Big Game Hunter and getting them yourself. You can also smith the smithable variants at level 60, 70, 80, and 90, but they cannot be augmented. Make sure you’re buying the precision upgrades too at the Archaeology guild when you unlock them with qualifications.
Skilling/Elite Skilling Outfit
Lastly, Skilling/Elite Skilling Outfit provides a very nice XP boost, and the later gives unlimited teleports to dig sites and collectors.
Levels 1-5: Varrock Digsite Tutorial
From level 1 to level 5, you’ll do the Varrock Digsite tutorial. Once you hit level 5, you will be teleported to Kharid-et in Al-Kharid
Levels 5-12: Venator Remains (Kharid-et)
At level 10, you can start digging out the debris blocking the doorway that leads further into the Kharid-et dig site. You’ll have to talk to Dr. Nabanik after you try to unlock the door, and he’ll give you a jewel. Go back to the door, finish unearthing it then go back and repair the jewel and use it on the door. This should get you to level 12, if it doesn’t, just excavate outside a little longer until you hit level 12 then go ahead.
Level 12-17: Legionary Remains (Kharid-et)
Once inside, you can go to the Legionary Remains and dig there until level 17. But, before you start, be sure to talk to Liam to start the collection journal pages. You need 4 to unlock that prison door next to him, and you’ll need this unlocked for future excavation plots. In short, you’ll get four pages, talk to Liam again to receive a broken dial, place the broken dial in the missing third slot, then to the left, hit following in order: the Shadow, Blood, Smoke, then Ice. The prison door will lift and you’ll be into the next area.
Levels 17-20: Castra Debris (Kharid-et)
At levels 17 to 20, you’ll want to dig at the Castra Debris which is just outside the level 12 spot to the right. Once you hit level 20, you’ll unlock Infernal Source.
Levels 20-24: Lodge Bar Storage (Infernal Source)
After the cutscene, head down the lift and dig at the Lodge Bar Storage, it’ll be on your right. Also, don’t forget to hit all the chests in the room for a couple of XP books, some Goldrune, a broken dagon crest, and also, an already repaired dagon crest. You’ll want to keep digging at the Lodge bar storage until level 24.
Levels 24-25: Lodge Art Storage (Infernal Source)
From level 24 to level 25, you are going to dig at the Lodge Art storage just to the right of where you were digging previously.
Levels 25-29: Administratum Debris (Kharid-et)
If you were lucky at level 24 and got your fourth and final dagoncrest, you can head to the Administratum debris at Al-Khraid at level 25 until level 29. You’ll need 4 dagon crests to place on the fireplace and climb inside the fireplace at infernal source which is the Eyes in Their Stars mystery, and access to the level 29 area of infernal source. If you were unlucky and kept receiving the disorder painting, keep digging there until you receive the final dagon crest or up until level 29. But keep in mind you will need to go back to the Administratum Debris at some point to get the associated artifacts for your collection logs.
Levels 29-36: Cultist Footlocker (Infernal Source)
Once you hit level 29, climb down the fireplace to the next location and dig at the Cultist Footlocker until level 36.
Levels 36-42: Sacrificial Altar (Infernal Source
Go to the Sacrificial altar which is near where you first entered inside the fireplace. Between levels 29 and 42, you should have received 4 Cultist diary journal pages for the Embrace the Chaos mystery. You’ll need to head north of the Cultist footlocker and you’ll see a ritual circle. Take some chalk and candles from the edge of the room and redraw the circle in the center and place the candles. Light the candles and perform the chant. The east candle chant is No. 3, the north candle chant is No. 2, and the west candle chant is No. 1. This will open a portal to excavation plots at a later time. So, this needs to be done.
At this point, you should have 25 artifacts excavated and repaired, have completed 1 mystery, and 1 collection log. Having all these done will unlock the Assistant Qualification. Unlocking the assistant qualification will unlock researchers which you can send out on research missions, similar to player-owned ports. You can also start studying certain objects around dig sites for special research missions that yield higher XP and certain objects and artifacts upon completion.
Levels 42-45: Prodomoi Remains (Everlight)
At level 42, you will unlock the Everlight dig site. So, you will dig out the Prodromoi remains until level 45.
Levels 45-47: Dis Dungeon Debris (Infernal Source)
From level 45 to level 47, you return to the infernal source and dig at the Dis Dungeon Debris.
Levels 47-48: Praesidio Remains (Kharid-et)
At level 47, if you have the prison door unlocked, or if not, now is the time to go back and unlock it as I said earlier, just dig outside the prison door until you receive 4 Custodian's log pages. You will dig at the Praesidio Remains at Kharid-et for 1 level. Be sure to keep a spare pendant as you’ll need it to pass through the red barrier to your south later at level 58.
Levels 48-51: Monoceros Remains (Everlight)
At level 48, you’ll head back to Everlight and dig at the Monoceros Remains until level 51.
Levels 51-56: Amphitheatre Debris (Everlight)
At level 51, you will hit your first spot where it’s going to feel like a grind. You will dit out Amphitheatre Debris plot until level 56.
Levels 56-58: Ceramics Studio Debris (Everlight)
You will head next door to the Ceramics Studio plot, and you’ll be there until level 58.
Levels 58-61: Carcerem Debris (Kharid-et)
You’ll return to Kharid-et and dig at the Carcerem Debris. Enter the spot with the pendant in your inventory or equipped. Keep a spare signet ring from this spot as you’ll need it later to enter the 74 dig spot.
Levels 61-65: Stadio Debris (Everlight)
You return to the Everlight for the Stadio Debris, and you’ll be here until level 65.
Levels 65-68: Infernal Art (Infernal Source)
Head back to the Infernal Source and dig at the Infernal Art plot which is inside that portal we opened earlier, or just hit three on the lift of the entrance of Infernal Source.
Levels 68-69: Shakroth remains (Infernal Source)
You’ll be at the Shakroth remains which is east of your last plot at the Infernal Source.
Levels 69-70: Dominion Games Podium (Everlight)
Head back to Everlight and dig at the Dominion Games Podium until level 70. At this point, you should have excavated and repaired 250 artifacts. Don’t worry if you haven’t, you can just head back to the Venator Remains – the level 5 spot in Kharid-et and dig as many as you need to hit this mark.
Also, you should have done 24 hours of research that sending your researchers out on missions. You should have done 10 mysteries and completed 5 logs. Having all these done, you’ll unlock the Associate Qualification which will give you access to Archaeology outfit, the Autoscreener, and the other buffs at Ezreal at the Archaeology Guild.
Levels 70-72: Ikovian Memorial (Stormguard)
At level 70, you unlock Stormguard Citadel. So, from level 70 to 72, you’ll be at the Ikovian Memorial at Stormguard. The plot is located around the portal. You need an extra Ikovian gerege and put it in your toolbelt and have access inside Stormguard. Once inside, dig around the portal for a pair of Boots of Flight. Once you find them, put them in your tool belt and these will be necessary to traverse further into Stormguard.
Levels 72-74: Oikos Studio Debris (Everlight)
Head back to Everlight and dig at the Oikos Studio Debris.
Levels 74-76: Kharid-et chapel Debris (Kharid-et)
Go back to Kharid-et and dig outside the chapel at the Kharid-et chapel Debris spot.
76 until all artifacts: Keshik Ger Remains (Stormguard)
At level 76, you have unlocked Warforge. But before you head there, you need to go back to the Stormguard Citadel to the Keshik Ger Remains. Inside the building, northeast of those remains, you’ll find the Wingsuit. Go ahead and pick it up and put that in your toolbelt as well, as you’ll need it to travel around further inside Stormguard. Once you have the artifacts needed from Keshik Ger for your collection logs, it’s time to head to Warforge.
Levels 76-81: Gladiatorial Goblin Remains (Warforge)
You are going to dig at the Gladiatorial Goblin Remains until level 81 and pray to RNGesus that you get all 4 Imcando metal pieces and a key during this time.
Levels 81-83: Pontifex Remains (Kharid-et)
At level 8, you have two options: you can boost with soil tea which is a cup of tea with all five different soils added to it. It gives you a visible +2 boost, giving you level 83 and the ability to unearth the barrier in Warforge to gain entry into the rest of Warforge.
It’s important to note this because once inside, you can find another 10 keys to create the Imcando mattock. Or, you can hit three different areas for collection logs at 81, and I personally would do this. I would sit at the Warforge at the Crucible Stands Debris for the artifacts needed then head to Stormguard to the Tailory Debris for artifacts for the collection log and then end at the Pontifex Remains which you’ll need your signet ring for. All three of these locations are level 81. The reason I would do this is the cost of materials to repair artifacts. And also, camping at Kharid-et dig site is more beneficial since you gain batteries which is extra XP. And also, with the Pylons active, you’ll get extra XP from that.
Levels 83-84: Goblin Dorm Remains (Warforge)
Either way you choose, at level 83, you’ll end up at Warforge again for Goblin Dorm Remains until you reach level 84.
Levels 84-85: Oikos Fishing Hut Remnants (Everlight)
At level 84, you’ll head to Everlight to the Oikos Fishing Hut Remnants for 1 level.
Levels 85-86: Weapons Research (Stormguard)
You return to Stormguard Citadel and dig the Weapons Research debris. While excavating the piles, you may come across journal pages for A Study in Aether mystery. Once you have all five pages, speak to Gee'ka to turn in the mystery.
Levels 86-89: Orcus Altar (Kharid-et)
Return to Kharid-et and begin excavating the Orcus Altar. You’ll need your Pontifex signet ring once again to enter. Be sure to keep an extra spell scroll that you find there as it is needed for The Vault of Shadows mystery.
Levels 89-91: Big High War God Shrine (Warforge)
At level 89, you are going to head to the Infernal Source first and excavate Dis overspill piles until you finish your collections. After finishing the collections, you go to Warforge and excavate the Big High War God Shrine piles. While excavating the piles, you may come across the journal page for Forge War! mystery. Speak to Zanik once you have recovered that to finish the mystery.
By now, you should be level 90 and have excavated and restored 500 artifacts, completed 15 mysteries, 20 collection logs, and 72 hours of research with your researchers. Once all completed, you’ll unlock the Professor Qualification.
Levels 91-92: Gravitron Research (Stormguard)
At level 91, return to Stormguard Citadel and excavate the Gravitron Research debris. It is strongly recommended to finish getting the pages for The Spy Who Loved Metal mystery so that you can finish Stormguard mysteries by level 95.
Levels 92-93: Acropolis Debris (Everlight)
Return to Everlight and begin excavating the Acropolis Debris. While excavating the piles, you may come across some journal pages for The Epic of Hebe mystery. Collect all five and speak to Vanescula to finish that mystery.
Levels 93-94: Armarium Debris (Kharid-et)
Return to Kharid-et and excavate the Armarium debris.
Levels 94-95: Yu’Buisk Animal Pen (Warforge)
You return to Warforge and excavate the Yu'biusk animal pen piles.
Levels 95-97: Keshik Tower Debris (Stormguard)
Return to Stormguard once again and head to the Keshik tower debris in the dayguard tower. Note that you are going to need to upgrade your flight suit before you can make it over there, or else you’ll get electrocuted on your way. From level 95 to level 97, you are going to sit at the Keshik tower debris.
Levels 97-98: Goblin Trainee Remains (Warforge)
You return to Warforge and begin excavating the Goblin Trainee Remains, and you’ll do that for 1 level.
Levels 98-99: Byzroth Remains (Infernal Source)
Return to either Stormguard Citadel or the Infernal Source. Upon completing one of the collections, switch over to the other one. It is recommended to do the Infernal Source first so that you spend more time at Stormguard to collect more blueprint pages.
Alternative Low-Budget method (level 93+)
If you don’t have a lot of RuneScape gold for the skill, I recommend starting at level 93 camping the Armarium Debris in Kharid-et. The material cost is low, and the batteries you get really add up. For instance, I had 900 batteries which equated to about 380,000 stored XP which was enough to push me to level 99. Along the way, at level 94, 95, 97, and 98, return to those other dig sites for collections but return to Kharid-et once complete with the collections and keep grinding there. The XP difference from repairing is minimal and a lot cheaper at Kharid-et.
Now, you should have excavated and restored 1,000 artifacts, have completed 20 mysteries, 25 collections, and have 168 hours of research completed. Once completed, you’ll unlock the Guildmaster Qualification which will give access to an elite Archaeology outfit with unlimited teleports and the item needed to unlock the Mattock of Time and Space and a precision upgrade for you mattock.
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