This article is about the quest. For the location east of Varrock, see Digsite.
Old School RuneScape uses the British convention for floor numbering: Ground floor, first floor, etc.
Instruction manual
This quest has a quick guide found here.
It briefly summarises the steps needed to complete the quest.
The Dig Site (#48)
The Digsite
Members only? Yes
Release date 9 July 2003 (Update)
Quest series The Return of Zaros
Official difficulty Intermediate
Developer Ian T, Marion C
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Start point Quest point icon Talk to an examiner in the Exam Centre south of the digsite.
Official difficulty Intermediate
Description 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 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?

Length Long
Items required


Enemies to defeat None


The first exam

Items required: A Varrock teleport, and energy potions (both optional but recommended).

Examiner 1 chathead
Varrock Museum location map

Location of Curator Haig Halen

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 in the Varrock Museum. If you do not have a Cup of tea at this point, you can steal one from the tea stall nearby before going back to the Exam Centre. 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

Items required: A cup of tea.

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.
The Dig Site

This is the location of the three students, two winches, and the dig.

The Digsite map
  1. Exam Centre
  2. Teddy and a nearby Digsite workman
  3. Digsite workmen
  4. Panning tray
  5. Panning spot


Teddy detail
Teddy bear location

Teddy bear location

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 on. One of the bushes has the teddy bear in it. Once found, return it to a female student found in the northwestern section of the Digsite to get the first answer. She is blonde and is wearing all purple.

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

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

Animal skull

Animal skull detail

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

Special cup detail
The Digsite 2

The player, panning.

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 southeastern 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. 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 him.

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

Items required: 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

The Digsite 3

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

The Digsite 4

The second certificate.

To pass the level 2 test, you 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

The Digsite 5

The third certificate.

To pass the level 3 test, 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.

Ancient talisman

Items required: A trowel, a specimen brush, and a specimen jar.

Ancient talisman detail

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

The Digsite 6

The level 3 digsite.

Dig in the north-eastern most dig site, 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 drop. Once you have the talisman, take it to the Archaeological expert 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

Items required: 2 coils of rope, trowel, vial, specimen jar, pestle and mortar, charcoal, invitation letter and a tinderbox.

The Digsite 7

The other private digsite, just below the level 3 digsite.

Go to the western digging area of the Digsite, and you will see a winch (the westernmost one in the Digsite) in the middle of it. Use your Invitation letter on a Digsite workman that's working (not on the workman that's standing next to the rocks at the winch nor the one with the wheelbarrow), and then use a rope on the winch to gain access to the sublevels of the Digsite.

Digsite Dungeon Map

Digsite Dungeon

Climb down the rope by operating the winch (requires 10 Agility). Grab an arcenia root near the rope, and go 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. It is impossible to pass through until you clear the path.

Return to the surface, and head towards the north-eastern winch, 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. If you haven't already, grab an arcenia root while you are there.

Book on chemicals detail

You need to mix ammonium nitrate, nitroglycerin, ground charcoal, and arcenia root to get the chemical compound that can blow up the bricks blocking the path in the western winch. (Although not needed, the recipe for this compound is described in the book on chemicals, which can be found in one of the bookshelves in the Exam Centre.)

  • 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. You take 25 damage if you drop the vial!
  • 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, 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 the archaeological expert 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. You take 37 damage if you drop the vial now!

Finishing up

Items required: Chemical compound, and a tinderbox.

Digsite Temple

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 on the bricks to blow it up. Go into the room with aggressive Skeletons (level 22), and pick up the stone tablet. Give it to the archaeological expert to finish the quest.


The Digsite reward scroll

Required for completing

Completing this quest is required for:


  • If you have both an uncut opal and opal in your inventory, the female student will take the first opal in your inventory from you.