The Dig Site

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This article is about the quest. For other uses, see Dig site.
For the achievement, see The Dig Site (achievement).
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This article has a quick guide found here.
Quick guides provide a brief summary of the steps needed for completion.

The Dig Site is the first quest in the Return of Zaros series. You must pass an archaeology exam for the Varrock Museum to be able to excavate the site where the city of Saranthium previously stood, but you discover something else...

Official description[edit | edit source]

Feeling uneducated? Desperate for buried treasure?

"There's gold in them there hills" (well stream actually), as well as many other items that can be found at the Digsite. Join the students in their attempts to be a qualified archaeologist, and become experienced in making the earth move!

Have you got what it takes to unearth the hidden altar to one of Runescape's lesser-known Gods?

Overview[edit | edit source]

The Dig Site[edit | edit source]

The Varrock Dig Site is located east of Varrock, north of Al Kharid. Go to the Exam Centre located south of the Dig Site. Talk to an examiner and ask her about taking an exam to be eligible to do work on the important areas of the Dig Site. She will then give you an unstamped letter. Bring this letter to Seth Minas, the site manager, in the Archaeology Guild building. You can take a Cup of tea behind Acting Guildmaster Reiniger for later in the quest.

After he signs it, bring the sealed letter back to the examiner, who then gives you the level 1 test.

No matter what you answer on the test, you will get all of them wrong. You must get answers from the other students. They are all wandering around the Dig Site. Leave the building and head north towards the Dig Site.

The Study Group[edit | edit source]

There are 3 students at the Dig Site who can help you with the exam answers. However, they will only give you the answers if you can find a lost item of theirs.

This can be done in any order. You can obtain the 'special' items before talking to the students.

Animal skull[edit | edit source]

The first student is Eduardo (student) and is in the north-western section of the Dig Site. He has blonde hair and is wearing a bandana over his mouth. He has lost his animal skull and wants you to retrieve it. Pickpocket any Dig Site workmen that can be found nearby until an animal skull is received; level 25 Thieving is required to steal it, and a higher level will increase your chances of receiving it.

Give the skull back to Eduardo and he will give you another answer – "Earth Science is the study of earth, its contents and history."

Teddy[edit | edit source]

Searching the bush with the teddy

The second student is Katarina (student) and is in the north section of the Dig Site. She is a blonde woman with a purple top with two pigtails. If you talk to her, she says that she has lost her teddy bear, which she describes as her "lucky mascot" and asks you to find it. The teddy bear is in one of four bushes by the mysterious monolith, south of the student.

Once the teddy has been found, return to Katarina and she will tell you one of the answers – "The proper health and safety points are: Proper tools must be used."

Special cup[edit | edit source]

Items needed: A cup of tea
Panning for the special cup

Go to the eastern area of the Dig Site. First, find Dorian (student) wearing a brown coloured shirt with green trousers, standing in front of the The Empty Throne Room entrance north of the panning area. He will tell you he has lost his special cup. Attempt to pan the river just east of the tent. There is a pan on the table by the panning guide. The panning guide will stop you and ask for a cup of tea.

If there is already a cup of tea in your inventory, he will automatically take it, however if you do not have one, a cup of tea may be found in the main administrative building to the west of the dig site.

After gaining permission, pan in the river until you obtain a special cup. You may also find an uncut opal, which is needed for a later part of the quest. Other items you might find when you search a full pan include uncut jade, coins, gold nuggets, oysters, and just plain mud.

Return the cup to Dorian and he will give you the final answer – "The people eligible to use the Digsite are: All that have passed the appropriate Earth Sciences Exams."

Archaeology[edit | edit source]

You must talk to each of the students before taking each new exam, otherwise the correct answers below will not even appear as an option!

Level 1[edit | edit source]

Go back to the exam centre and take the exam again, this time choosing the correct answers. If you have forgotten the information, they are as follows:

The study of Earth Science is: "The study of the earth, its contents and history."
The people eligible to use the digsite are: "All that have passed the appropriate Earth Sciences exam."
The proper health and safety points are: "Proper tools must be used."

If it is done right, you will receive a level 1 certificate and a trowel as a reward.

Level 2[edit | edit source]

Return to each of the students and ask them for level 2 answers, which are as follows:

Correct sample transportation: "Samples taken in rough form, kept only in sealed containers."
Finds handling: "Finds must be carefully handled."
Correct rock pick usage: "Always handle with care; strike cleanly on its cleaving point."

Once again, talk to the Examiner for the test and after passing it, you will receive a level 2 certificate and a rock pick.

Level 3[edit | edit source]

Speak to the three students again and obtain the answers for level 3 certificate. However, Katarina (in a purple top) will want an uncut/cut opal for her help this time. Pan in the river for one, if you did not receive it when you were looking for the special cup. It is also possible to receive a cut opal from excavating level 1 grids.

Sample preparations: "Samples cleaned, and carried only in specimen jars."
Specimen brush use: "Brush carefully and slowly using short strokes."
The proper technique for handling bones is: "Handle bones very carefully and keep them away from other samples."

Now go back to the exam centre. Answer the questions correctly and you will earn the final level 3 certificate, along with a specimen brush and jar. You can now dig anywhere you wish; you can also show all the 3 certificates to Seth Minas and choose between something to drink (fruit blast) or something to eat (chocolate cake), as a reward.

The Forgotten One[edit | edit source]

Digging in a level 3 dig area.

You now need to use the trowel to dig into the soil at the level 3 grid, which can be found on the east side, near student 3. Click on the soil until you find an ancient talisman. This can take multiple attempts. Any other items can be discarded.

Take the talisman to the Terry Balando in the exam centre. He will be impressed by it and say that it's a talisman of the god Zaros. He will give you an invitation letter, which must be shown to workers to get permission to go down the private winches.

Devious Minds[edit | edit source]

Items needed: 2 ropes
A map of the Senntisten Temple.

Make your way to the northern-eastern digging area of the Dig Site (directly north of dig site level 3) and you will see a winch near the top of it. Use the invitation letter on the Dig Site winch operator next to it. Afterwards, attach a rope to the winch in order to gain access to the sub-levels of the Dig Site.

Grab an arcenia root near the west wall while you're there as you'll need it later. Walk east and search the bricks blocking the path to the south; it is currently impossible to pass through until the bricks are cleared.

Return to the surface and head to the other winch, located to the west. Once again, use your rope and go down the winch. Speak to Doug Deeping and inquire on how to move a large pile of rocks. There are also two arcenia root spawns in this area, against the western wall and north-western corner.

He suggests blowing the bricks up, and also speaks of a former colleague who had discovered some chemical substances to use for that process. However, he was scared by his findings and left them inside the other shaft. He also gives you a chest key. Use the 'drop trick' for multiple keys if you want to obtain more compounds after completing the quest.

Boom![edit | edit source]

Items needed: Vial, charcoal, trowel and arcenia root

Make your way to the bigger dungeon down the north-eastern winch.

  • Head north-east inside the dungeon to find a locked chest, barrel, four arcenia root spawns, three sacks of charcoal, and a book on chemicals.
  • Open the chest and get ammonium nitrate from it.
  • Pry open the barrel, located east of the chest, using your trowel. Use your vial on it afterwards to get nitroglycerine.
  • Search a sack of charcoal to obtain a charcoal. Grind your charcoal into ground charcoal.
  • Mix the ammonium nitrate with the nitroglycerine, then add the ground charcoal and arcenia root to create chemical compound. Make sure to do this quickly otherwise the mixed chemicals will go foul.
The Zarosian temple

After the quest you will not be able to get more ammonium nitrate since Doug Deeping will not give you another key, so be sure to get a lot of it if you want more chemical compounds. You do not need to keep getting a key from Doug, you can just keep clicking on the chest whilst it's open.

Now search the bricks to the south and use the chemical compound on it, and immediately after that, search it again and use the tinderbox option to blow it up; you will automatically run away. Enter the central chamber. Pick up the stone tablet in the centre of the Zarosian sign and go back to Terry Balando. Then, show the stone tablet to him to finish the quest.

Rewards[edit | edit source]

The Dig Site reward.png
Music unlocked

Achievements[edit | edit source]

Required for completing[edit | edit source]

The Dig Site is directly required for the following quests/miniquests:

Transcript[edit | edit source]

Credits[edit | edit source]


Update history[edit | edit source]

This information has been compiled as part of the update history project. Some updates may not be included - see here for how to help out!
  • patch 30 March 2020 (Update):
    • Fixed numerous graphical bugs surrounding the new Dig Site entrances and the Archaeology Guild Campus.
    • The thumbs of certain Dig Site employees have been returned to their proper size.
  • patch 19 August 2019 (Update):
    • The empty throne room is no longer listed as a reward from The Dig Site quest, as this is no longer required to access the room.
  • patch 20 May 2019 (Update):.
    • The Digsite quest has been improved!
      • Hint boxes have been added to the quest.
      • Digging spots can now just be clicked on (no more "Use tool on soil" with a tiny click zone).
      • All hand-ins are now handled via left click interactions (no need to "Use item on NPC", though these still work).
      • The role of the curator has been replaced with a new NPC – Seth Minas – to keep students on-site throughout the quest.
      • Cups of tea will now spawn in one of the new buildings in this area.
      • Groundskeeping work means that there are now fewer bushes to search for lost objects.
      • You can now carry multiple panning trays and fill them all up before having to check them.
      • If you try to pan with only full panning trays in your inventory, you will automatically check and empty one of your full panning trays first.
      • Pickpocketing is now the default option (for members) on Varrock Dig Site workmen.
      • The components of the chemical compound used in the quest can now all be found in the caves to better make use of this area.
      • Ammonium nitrate and nitroglycerine are now identified on pickup, and do not have to be taken to archaeological expert Terry Balando (though he is still able to identify any unidentified items you might still have lying around).
      • Leather boots and gloves are no longer required to dig at archaeological grids. You will still need the relevant qualification and tools.
      • Examiners will now provide the appropriate tools for each qualification, in an attempt to reduce theft on-site.
      • The Dig Site quest journal has been updated to reflect the changes made to the area.
  • patch 26 August 2014 (Update):
    • A typo in examiner's dialogue during Digsite quest has been updated.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • On the day of release, it was impossible to complete this quest since there was no way to obtain the required specimen brush. This was fixed the next day, and Jagex promised to feed the staff members responsible for the bug to the King Black Dragon.