The Dig Site

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The Dig Site (#48)
The Dig Site.png
Released 9 July 2003 (Update)
Members Yes
Quest series Mahjarrat, #1
Official difficulty Intermediate
Lead developer(s) Ian T

The Dig Site is a quest where 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...

Details[edit | edit source]

Start pointMinimap icon Talk to an examiner in the Exam Centre south of the digsite. Show on map
Official difficultyIntermediate
DescriptionFeeling 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 attempt 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?
Official lengthMedium
Items required
Enemies to defeat None

Walkthrough[edit | edit source]

The first exam[edit | edit source]

Items recommended: A Varrock teleport, and energy potions.
Examiner (1) chathead.png

Go to the Exam Centre, south of the Digsite. Talk to an Examiner and ask her about taking an exam to be eligible to do work on the Digsite. She will then give you an unstamped letter. Teleport or travel to the Varrock Museum and hand this letter to Curator Haig Halen. After he adds his seal to the letter, return to the Exam Centre and speak to an Examiner again who will then give you a level 1 test.

No matter what you answer on the test, you will get all three questions wrong. You must get answers from students in the digsite. Each student has lost one item and will give you the answer when they get it back.

The study group[edit | edit source]

A map of the Dig site. A key is located to the left.


  1. Exam Centre
  2. Teddy and a nearby Digsite workman
  3. Digsite workmen
  4. Panning tray
  5. Panning spot
  6. Students
  7. Winch(es)
Items needed: A cup of tea. (Can be stolen from tea shop or there is a spawn in Taverley north of the Herbalist's store.)

There are 3 students in the Digsite who can help you with the exam answers. They will give you the answers only if you find a lost item of theirs. You do not have to write down the answers, as they are listed below.

Note: You can obtain the 'special' items listed below before talking to the students.

Teddy[edit | edit source]

From the Exam Centre, walk a little way north towards the digsite until you come to two wooden walkways. Follow the eastern walkway to the top of the small hill and search the bushes near the large urn which has a blue pattern. One of the bushes has the teddy bear in it. Once found, return it to a female student found in the north-western section of the Digsite to get the first answer. She is blonde and is wearing all purple.

Teddy bear location

(Teddy bear is located in the bush just to the right of the highlighted one)

Note: To speed things up a bit pickpocket (steal-from) the Digsite workman near the walkway until you receive an animal skull and specimen brush.

Animal skull[edit | edit source]

The second student is found in the southern section of the Digsite. He has blonde hair and is wearing a green shirt. To find his lost item, "steal-from" Digsite workmen until you get an animal skull. Return it to the student, and give him his lost item to get the second answer. If you obtain a specimen brush, keep it; you'll need it later in the quest.

Special cup[edit | edit source]

The last student is found on the eastern section of the Digsite. He is wearing an orange shirt, with short black hair and darker skin. After speaking to him, you find out he lost his special cup. Go to the south-eastern side of Digsite. First, find a panning tray from inside the tent near the panning point in the river. Then try to pan with it by clicking in the river. The panning guide will stop you and ask for a cup of tea, give it to him. Then, pan in the river until you get the Special cup. If you get an uncut opal, keep it, as you'll need one later on. Once you have found the Special cup, return it to the student.

Note: You can receive both uncut jades and uncut opals while panning. Make sure to obtain an opal if you do not have one for the next step.

Retaking the exams[edit | edit source]

Items needed: An opal (cut or uncut).

Note: If the correct answer is not present in the selection given, you must have missed talking to a student. Check the quest log to find out which one, speak to them, and then try again.

Level 1[edit | edit source]

The first certificate.

After helping out all three students, return to the Exam Centre and speak to an Examiner. Speak to her to retake the exam. To pass it, use the answers that the students gave you:

  1. Can you tell me what Earth Sciences is? - The study of the earth, its contents and history.
  2. Can you tell me which people are allowed to use the digsite? - All that have passed the appropriate Earth Sciences exam.
  3. Can you tell me the proper safety points when working on a digsite? - Gloves and boots to be worn at all times; proper tools must be used.

If done correctly, players will receive a Level 1 certificate and a trowel.

Level 2[edit | edit source]

The second certificate.

To pass the level 2 test, speak to the three students again to get the answers and return to the Examiner. The questions and answers are:

  1. Can you tell me how we transport samples? - Samples taken in rough form; kept only in sealed containers.
  2. What is the proper way to handle finds? - Finds must be carefully handled, and gloves worn.
  3. Can you tell me the proper use for a rock pick? - Always handle with care; strike cleanly on its cleaving point.

Upon passing, players receive a Level 2 certificate.

Level 3[edit | edit source]

The third certificate.

To pass the level 3 test, you can speak to the three students again to obtain the answers. However, the female student will want an uncut opal or 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. Return to the examiner and take the last test:

  1. Can you tell me how we prepare samples? - Samples cleaned, and carried only in specimen jars.
  2. What is the proper way to use a specimen brush? - Brush carefully and slowly using short strokes.
  3. Can you describe the technique for handling bones? - Handle bones very carefully and keep them away from other samples.

Upon passing, players receive a Level 3 certificate and permission to dig in all levels.

Note: (Optional) Keep the certificates to show to the Museum Curator for rewards needed for Desert Treasure I and Recipe for Disaster.

Ancient discovery[edit | edit source]

Items needed: A trowel, a specimen brush, and a specimen jar.
Ancient talisman detail.png

Grab a specimen jar from the cupboard on the south wall inside the Exam Centre. If there is no Search option, speak to Terry Balando about the tools then search the cupboard again. Then, head back to the Digsite, and pickpocket a Digsite workman until you get a specimen brush if you haven't got one already.

Dig in the western most dig site (area 5) or the northern most dig site (area 1), the sign will read "Level 3 digs only." Use your trowel on the soil until you find an ancient talisman. This often takes many tries and can easily take several minutes to find. When you find the talisman, a message will be displayed in your chat, so you are very unlikely to miss the item.

Once you have the talisman, take it to Terry Balando in the Exam Centre. He will say that it's a talisman of Zaros and is impressed. Then, he will give you an invitation letter, which must be shown to workers to get permission to go down the boreholes, or private dig shafts.

Chemical compound[edit | edit source]

Items needed: 2 Ropes, trowel, vial, specimen jar, pestle and mortar, invitation letter and a tinderbox.
Numbered areas of the digsite.
The north-eastern digsite, just below the level 3 digsite.
Book on chemicals detail.png

There are two winches in the Digsite, in areas 3 and 4. Use your Invitation letter on a Digsite workman that's working near a winch, and then use a rope on the westernmost winch (in area 4) to gain access to the sublevels of the Digsite.

Climb down the rope by operating the winch (requires 10 Agility). Grab an arcenia root just north of the rope, and go slightly east until you see some large bricks blocking the way to a room to the south. "Search" the bricks, and then go back to the surface.

Head towards the north-eastern winch (in area 3), a little bit south of the level 3 digsite from before. Use another rope and go down, there you will find Doug Deeping. Speak to him and ask him how you can move a large pile of rocks. He will give you a chest key to be used on the chest in the tent where you got your panning tray. You can also grab an arcenia root here.

A "Book on chemicals" detailing the full recipe can be found on the bookshelves of the Exam Centre. To find the components and mix them into the required explosive, follow the steps below.

  • Go open the chest near the panning site to get chemical powder.
  • Use your trowel on the barrel (marked with a skull and bones if you rotate the camera around) west of the tent with the chest to open it. Use your vial on the barrel to get an unidentified liquid. Do not drop the vial after filling it, or you will receive 25 damage and the vial will be destroyed.
  • Search the specimen tray north of the tent with a specimen jar in your inventory till you find charcoal. Grind it with a pestle and mortar to get ground charcoal.
    Note: If planning to do Desert Treasure I, get a second charcoal to save time, but drop it while you grind the other, or else they will both be ground.
  • Show the chemical powder to Terry Balando in the Exam Centre to learn that it's ammonium nitrate, and then show (be careful not to left click on the empty option) the unidentified liquid to him to learn that it's nitroglycerin.
  • Mix the nitroglycerin and the ammonium nitrate. Then, add ground charcoal, and then add the arcenia root. (10 Herblore required) Then, you get a chemical compound. If you drop the vial now, you will receive enough damage to drop you to 1 hitpoint.
    Note: Once you have made the compound, you cannot make another one without dropping it and taking damage. In addition, you cannot empty or drop extra vials without receiving 25 damage.

The Temple of the Empty Lord[edit | edit source]

Items needed: Chemical compound, and a tinderbox.
The Zarosian altar found after blowing up the rocks.

Go down the west winch, and use the chemical compound on the bricks (not the rocks), and then use a tinderbox (You can farm a goblin near the west fence, but not recommended) on the bricks to blow it up. Go into the room with Skeletons (level 22, aggressive to players of level 44 and below), and pick up the stone tablet. Give it to Terry Balando to finish the quest.

Rewards[edit | edit source]

The Dig Site reward scroll.png

Required for completing[edit | edit source]

Completion of The Dig Site is required for the following:

Changes[edit | edit source]

Date Changes
Date unknown

The quest was renamed from "The Digsite" to "The Dig Site".

16 January 2007

The quest was renamed from "Digsite Quest" to "The Digsite".

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Despite having dialogue referring to the player's completion of Shield of Arrav as the reason for receiving approval from Curator Haig Halen, The Dig Site does not require completion of Shield of Arrav. Similar dialogue may also occur if the player has completed Romeo & Juliet.
  • The original release of this quest in 2003 was "botched".[1] It wasn't possible to complete the quest until the day after it released, due to being unable to obtain the specimen brush.
  • Previously, completion of the quest granted the ability to choose the book of darkness after completion of Horror from the Deep.

References[edit | edit source]