Step 1, as with anything, getting the skill is required.
List of Archaeology Trainers
Step 2, learning your new skill.
Survey - Will be the new skill you will be using to level up Archaeology.
First you will need to find a site where you can dig for relics. You can do this by opening your map. Extend your map out to view the whole continent. With the big map you will see 4 little shovels marked out. Each one of those 4 little shovels marks a spot where you can dig.
When you are in the area that had the shovel you can check your map of that area. You will see an area highlighted in a different color. (color blind tip: it is a darker area on the map with a bold dark outline)
Things you need to know about your shovels:
There are always 4 per continent.
From skill level 1-300 you will only have 4 on Kalimdor and 4 on Eastern Kingdom.
From skill 300-375 you will also have 4 in Outlands.
From 375-450 you will also have 4 in Northrend.
From 450-525 you have a chance for Uldum to have dig sites.
There are 16 total as soon as you reach 375 skill.
Each dig site is yours and yours only.
You can dig up 3 relics at each dig site.
You must dig out all 3 from a site before it will disappear and respawn another one.
If you log out or if you do not dig for a month it will not change the digs you currently have. Those same digs will stay there until you clear them.
How to use Survey:
Find an area inside the dig site bordered and click survey.
A tripod will appear.
The blinker on the tripod will give you an indication of where a relic might be.
Red Indicator: It is far away. Think 50-100 yards. (color blind tip: it is a solid color, not blinking)
Yellow Indicator: It is some distance still. Think 25-50 yards. (color blind tip: it is a slow blinking color)
Green Indicator: It is close. Under 25 yards. (color blind tip: it is a fast blinking color)
Once you hit green (fast blinking) move 3 steps in the direction and survey again. Keep this up until you find your relic.
Color blind tip: If you click survey and the tripod does not appear that means a relic was found. Fossil relics have a tendency to blend in with the grass in areas like Un'Goro. So just hover over the area immediately around you until the cogwheel appears. It is there somewhere, just a matter of finding it.
Step 3, making artifacts.
Just like all skills Archaeology has a spell book so to speak.
The main page on it will show you all the things you can discover artifacts for.
Kalimdor (excluding Uldum) & Eastern Kingdom.
Night Elf, Fossil, Troll and Dwarf
Orc and Draenei
Nerubian and Vrykul
Uldum in Kalimdor
Clicking on a highlighted one will show you what project you are currently working on and how many fossils you need to complete it.
Do not build any projects until you are at least level 75 Archaeology. You stop getting skill ups from finding relics at 100 and it gets really slow after 75. You get 5 skill points when you build an Artifact that is common and more (10-15-20 all confirmed so far) depending on the rare. So do not waste the easy skill up from finding things on making artifacts until you are not getting skill ups from finding things any more.
To go back to the main book just click the top tab again to see all projects.
To see completed projects click the second tab.
Rare and Epic finds are random. I found my first rare before level 100 my second rare before level 150. Some people are 300 and do not have one yet. The more you do the more likely you are to find a rare. Know what rare you are going for and you know where to set your focus. More on that later.
Step 4, making rare and epics
You can not just find these. You need to find other things to find these. It is exactly that, rare or epic. When you complete a project the next project is random. Sometimes that next project will be a rare or an epic. Rare and epic projects are considerably more work to assemble, needing many more pieces to make.
Some rare or epic items give you an option to move it along faster with the use of special items. Each race has its own special items and those items are randomly found doing digs.
There are as follows:
Troll Artifact Bonus: Troll Tablet
Night Elf Artifact Bonus: Highborne Scroll
Fossil Artifact Bonus: None
Dwarf Artifact Bonus: Dwarf Rune Stone
Orc Artifact Bonus: Orc Blood Text
Draenei Artifact Bonus: Draenei Tome
Nerubian Artifact Bonus: Nerubian Obelisk
Vrykul Artifact Bonus: Vrykul Rune Stick
Tol'vir Artifact Bonus: Tol'vir Hieroglyphic
None of these items are BoP so you can sell them or buy them if need be. Either way, they are not useless junk. Do not throw them away. If you are building a rare or epic item there will be a place in the lower left hand corner to place these items to help speed up the project.
Once placed they do not stay there unless you complete the project but it is suggested you place them to see how many it can take. Only one place will appear but once it is filled if another is allowed it will appear. Unless you complete the project at that moment as soon as you close the window the bonus pieces will be returned to your inventory.
When you first get the chance to build a rare or epic fill the bonus slots instantly. This will show you how many bonus parts you have. For example if three open up in a project that needs 100 you only have to collect 64 pieces instead of 100 because you will be able to use 3 of the bonus items and bonus items count as 12 pieces each.
Step 5, the good stuff.
We all know why people are going to do Archaeology. For the shiny goodness of items and fun stuff.
Here is a list of goodies you can get.
Canopic Jar - Tol'vir common item that may contain Recipe: Vial of the Sands or other goodies. Open before selling as junk.
Night Elf Rares:
Druid and Priest Statue -
Bones of Transformation -
Queen Azshara's Dressing Gown - BoA Level 60 Cloth Chest
Tyrande's Favorite Doll - BoA Level 85 Intellect Trinket
Wisp Amulet -
Highborne Soul Mirror -
Kaldorei Wind Chimes -
Zin'rokh, Destroyer of Worlds - BoA Level 85 Two Handed Strength Sword
Fossilized Raptor - Mount
Fossilized Hatchling - Pet
Staff of Sorcerer-Thane Thaurissan - BoA Level 85 Spellpower Staff
Chalice of the Mountain Kings -
Clockwork Gnome - Pet
The Innkeeper's Daughter - Hearthstone Replacement
Headdress of the First Shaman - BoA Level 70 Mail Head
Arrival of the Naaru -
The Last Relic of Argus - Random Teleporter
Blessing of the Old God -
Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron -
Nifflevar Bearded Axe - BoA Level 80 One Handed Axe
Crawling Claw - Pet
Pendant of the Scarab Storm - BoA
Ring of the Boy Emperor - BoA Level 85 Caster Ring
Scepter of Azj'Aqir - Mount
Scimitar of the Sirocco - BoA Level 85 One Handed Strength Sword
Staff of Ammunae - BoA Level 85 Healer Staff
I know there are more items you can get but could not find them on the wowhead list to link right now. As I find them I will update this.
Have fun digging and good luck.