Guide to Xenoarchaeology

From Baystation

This guide is not only a guide to basic Xenoarcheology, it is also a guide to playing an efficient and believable Xenoarcheologist. So, if you feel some parts are too much for you, feel free to ignore them, but it is still appreciated to work with a believable coworker rather than someone who leaves all their stuff on the floor, doesn’t analyze their findings, and barely even does their job.

Xenoarcheologist, Anomalist: The Difference

The first thing to know is that a Xenoarcheologist is not an Anomalist. While they tend to work together for obvious reasons, their field of study, method, and RP archetypes are quite different.

A Xenoarcheologist looks for artifacts. Artifacts are those things most people think are useless, like fossils, alien spoons, bowls, those kinds of things. And, on a gameplay point, they are, indeed, mostly useless: Most of them do not have any function except decoration, and the few that do have a function are not very useful. Xenoarcheology is mainly an RP job, where you give story and sense to these objects. It also quite different from the other Scientist jobs: You do not work in a laboratory solely, you mostly work outside, digging through rocks in the cold hard environment of an asteroid. You may work in a Laboratory during analysis (Spectrometry, Anomaly testing). So Xenoarcheologists are a strange breed amongst the Research team, with a very different set of goals and line of work.

An Anomalist studies the anomalies Xenoarcheologists bring to them. They are much more of a Lab worker than the Xenoarcheologist, do not spend much time outside, etc. This job is less of a pure Roleplay one, and much more closer to the rest of the station, with significant testing and gameplay to fiddle with. However, that does not mean you should not try to put some RP into it: How was your anomaly used by the people who made it? How does it relate to the artifacts the Xenoarcheologist found buried with it? You are not a Xenoarcheologist, but that does not mean you should totally ignore them and that your work does not relate.

So, know the difference between the two jobs, and act accordingly. Work with your Xenoarcheologists just as they should work with you.


All the equipment listed here is available in Expedition Preparation, so look in the lockers, on the tables, and the racks.

  1. Measuring Tape: Tells you how deep you already dug into your site. Useful when you lose track of your excavation.
  2. GPS: Tells you your position on the asteroid. Not of major importance, but can be useful if you want to keep track of that too.
  3. Excavation pick set: Absolute necessity. Contains the small picks you need to excavate your artifacts, they all dig a different distance, detailed later in this guide.
  4. Tracking Beacon: When activated, allows locator devices to locate it by tuning on its frequency. Useful if you are in trouble, or if you simply lost your suspension field generator. Not a necessity at all and mostly a waste of space.
  5. Core Sampler: Absolute necessity. Needed to take the rock samples you need for spectrometer analysis.
  6. Wrench: Needed to set the suspension field generator, which is necessary to collect artifacts.
  7. Hand pickaxe: The largest excavation pick, does not fit in the Excavation Pick Set. Digs 30cm.
  8. Locator Device: Locates Tracking Beacons by tuning to their frequency. As useless as the Tracking Beacon.
  9. Depth analysis scanner: Absolute necessity. Tells you if the tile of rock in front of you, contains something, and gives you information about it if it is the case. Detailed later in this guide.
  10. Lantern: A very useful light source. Helpful, but not necessary. Activate your excavation hood.
  11. Excavation gear-belt: The belt that will allow you to carry most of your equipment.
  12. Optical Meson Scanner: Absolute necessity. Allows you to see through the rock, and locate your precious dig sites.
  13. Excavation voidsuit helmet Comes with a built-in flashlight. Click in the top left.
  14. Excavation voidsuit: Both the suit and helmet are absolute necessities. Needed to go EVA, protects you against radiations and partially against exotic particles, should you find an activated anomaly.
  15. Suspension Field Generator: Used for proper removal of artifacts/anomalies once using the wire-brush to finish excavation of the selected rock.

Note: An  Anomaly suit is not vacuum proof. Excavation and Mining suits are the only non-space suits in Expedition Prep that allow you to go EVA.

Now, you probably know the rest: An oxygen tank, available in the prep room and the gloves you were told to take earlier. You’ll notice we also have a camera, which is generally used to take photos of anomalies and the like. If you organize your equipment properly, you have enough space in your inventory to carry some equipment of your choice.

It is advisable to leave free space in your backpack, to carry the artifacts you find back to your shuttle. You may also want to carry a duffle bag instead.

The away mission

Now that you're ready for the expedition, you'll need to get to an asteroid. On most rounds the Torch will already be at an asteroid away site at roundstart. See Standard Operating Procedure: Away Missions.

There will be some equipment already in the Guppy or the Charon, but you should bring anything you need from the Torch as going back and forth takes a long time.

From here, you need to use your Alden Saraspova Counter to pinpoint your route. It helps to leave it in your pocket for quick retrieval, as you will need to click a lot to get to a digsite.


To avoid destroying the very artifacts you intend to mine, you will want to carry a Depth Analysis Scanner along with you. When you are in range by 10, you should scan Rocks before you clear them. If you fail to do this, you will get a message that says 'Object shatters!' where object is replaced with whatever item it was, which means you have destroyed an artifact. There is a small chance for it to survive this, however.

At last, you have found a dig site, or your Depth Analysis Scanner pinged while you were looking for one. It is time to be precise and thorough.

If you click on your Depth Analysis Scanner, a screen with the following information will appear:

Time: The time at which the scan was made. Only for paperwork purposes.

Coords: Coordinates of the dig site. Paperwork purposes too.

Anomaly depth: The depth at which your artifact resides.

Clearance above anomaly depth: The size of the cavity in which the artifact is. If you dig in it, you will get a strange rock, which I will talk about later.

Dissonance spread: Quite useless, a 1 means it is an artifact, other numbers indicate an anomaly, but in this case, the scan is different enough to render this information useless.

Anomaly material: Tells you roughly what your artifact is. Depending on this information, you will activate a specific field on your suspension field generator to collect the artifact.

Now that you have this information, bring the Suspension Field Generator to the dig site. You need two free tiles around the site, so that you can put your generator on one, and be on the other one. Fix it to the ground with the wrench and do not activate it yet. For now, what we need is a rock sample.

For that purpose, you will need to dig just before the cavity starts. It means you need to subtract the Clearance from the anomaly depth, and dig at this distance. Now that you have dug this distance, take your Core Sampler and click on the dig site. The red light will turn green, meaning that a sample was taken.

Note: You only need one sample per dig site.

Now you can focus on the excavation. You will need to strike at the exact anomaly depth and turn the suspension field generator off. Then, repeat the same procedure minus the sample until your Depth Analysis Scanner stops pinging.

Note: This example is for a precise excavation. If you dig too far, the artifact breaks. But, if you dig too short, and you end up in the cavity of the artifact, you will get a strange rock. While not being a total failure, a strange rock is bad. First, because you need to open it with a wire-brush, which is one unnecessary step in the process. But the most important point here is that opening strange rocks quite often breaks the artifact itself, so, try to dig at the exact anomaly depth to avoid these kinds of issues.

When you are done with the excavation, bring your sample and findings back to your shuttle, where you will store them to bring back to Research.

Now, here are the two lists for the various excavation picks and the different fields of the generator.

Xenoarchaeology picks.png
Xenoarchaeology table.png

The last line, Unknown, is linked to anomalies, which will be talked about in a later chapter.

Analysis: Spectrometry

So! You have spent some time digging and excavating, and now, you have around 6 different dig sites, maybe more. That’s good. Hopefully, you organized and labeled them all according to a memorable pattern. Now, take all the samples, put them in your crate, and head back to the Outpost, for the Spectrometer analysis.

Here is the Spectrometry Laboratory. In the room, you see a coolant tank, a bucket, some nanopaste, and three spectrometers. In order to have an organized analysis, I suggest you only use one, most particularly, the upper one, since it avoids the usual back & forth to provide it with coolant. Once it is filled with coolant, take your first sample, take the rock sample in it, and put it in the spectrometer.

Note: Once again, use only one Spectrometer, and start with your Dig Site 1, then 2, etc. The results of the analysis are chronologically enumerated, so, that way, you will have a correspondence between your samples and your results.

Xenoarchaeology spectroconsole.png

Now, you have opened the Spectrometer menu. Big scary screen at first, but simple to understand.

Scanner: Indicates the progress of the scan, and the "health" of the spectrometer. When it is too low, use nanopaste to fix it.

MASER: The most important stuff. Try to match you Current Wavelength with the Optimal Wavelength best as you can, since it is what makes the scan progress.

Environment / Internal: The speed at which the machine functions, and the heat it endures. The faster it goes, the hotter it is.

Radiation: Sometimes, radiation outbursts happen during the scan. You can enable the Radiation Shielding, but it stops the scan, so I rather suggest you keep your excavation suit on yourself since it protects you against it. That way, you can totally ignore this factor.

Cooling: Rather simple to understand. It is what keeps the Internal Temperature low. On this screen, you see I put the flow rate at 2 u/s: It is best to keep it that way, 2 u/s gives you plenty of time before emptying it, and avoids overheat in almost every case.

If you followed these instructions, the only part you need to focus on is the MASER field, since it is the only one that will necessitate you to fiddle with during the scan.

Now, you begin your scan, keep the Wavelength in check, and normally, the scan goes very well without any trouble. The machine pings, ejects your rock sample, and prints the result of the scan. After all that work you have some techno-babble that will allow you to RP-study your artifacts later.


After you've analyzed all your samples, it's time to bring all of this back to the Torch and stow it away. Put your Artifacts in labeled crates and drag it back to Research.

Now you have organized all your findings… think, look at the reports, be creative! Look at your 800 years old weapons of Dig Site 4. Maybe they belonged to the species depicted on this 850-year-old bowl, in Dig Site 2? Basically, make logical links between the findings, invent stories around them, entire civilizations, wars, religions, the possibilities are massive. Maybe when you have enough data, you could write a book about it? Xenoarcheology may be a very lonely job, but it still gives you plenty of occasions to make great RP, so just go crazy.


But, while you have fun with your trinkets and old plant fossils, your buddies in the Anomalistics department are still waiting for anomalies to work with.

They are found the same way you find artifacts: Scan a tile, if it doesn't ping , anything, if it pings, excavate it. To make your life a lot easier, the Alden Saraspova Counter tool can be used to track anomalies. Rather than scanning every tile, this tool will find the closest anomaly and display your distance from it. Every time you change position, you can use it again, getting closer with each scan. Once you're within a few meters, you can begin to scan tiles confident that one of them will ping and contain an anomaly. Generally, anomalies are hidden behind a bunch of artifacts, so finding them is generally a matter of luck. You know you have found an anomaly when your Depth Analysis Scanner tells you this:

Xenoarchaeology depthanomaly.png

At this point, it means you need to dig at a depth of 200 cm. Once you are there, the external rock collapses, leaving a rocky debris. Scan it once again, and you’ll get another bunch of results, which are quite erratic, so don’t focus on them. For the excavation, you do not need your field generator, so just grab a small pick, smaller than 8 cm, and start digging. Make sure to use your measuring tape if you're unsure of what depth you're on. The last thing you want is to destroy the artifact. At one moment or another, the rocky debris will collapse too, leaving you with the anomaly. At this point, you might want to take a photo or something else, to add to your own paperwork.

Then, simply bring back the anomaly to the Camp and put it into the Airlock. If you have an Anomalist working with you, announce it over the radio. If you're alone, simply analyze it when you're ready to analyse.

Step-by-step Guide

  1. Once you have arrived at the designated away-site (typically the asteroid cluster), begin to use the Alden Saraspova Device. This device will inform you of anomalistic radiation within the area round you, carefully use the device until you are within six or five meters of the anomalistic radiation signature. If the device indicates 'Background Radiation' this means no anomalies/artifacts are within your zone, walk around for a minute and then use the device again.
  2. Now that you are within five to six meters of the anomalistic signature, begin scanning (clicking-on) the nearby rocks with your Depth Analyzer (this tool is currently 'bugged' so after scanning and receiving a 'ping' you will need to close the device interface and then reopen to refresh your screen.) Once the Depth Analyzer pings, examine the information presented on the interface screen, you now know the depth of the anomaly/artifact along with other information.
  3. Drag your Suspension Field Generator to face the selected rock containing the anomaly/artifact, wrench it in place and swipe your identification-card to unlock the interface, however DO NOT enable the generator itself until completing the following steps.
  4. Examine the information presented by your Depth Analyzer. Specifically the Anomaly Depth, Cavity, and Dissonance Spread. The Anomaly Depth informs you how deep you must dig to reach the bare-minimum of excavation towards the artifact/anomaly, if the depth is 180cm you will want to use the excavation picks to dig as close to 179cm as possible with your equipment. If you dig too far or too little, you risk losing the anomaly/artifact or damaging it. Employ the use of a measuring tape to reexamine the current depth you have dug in comparison to the depth of the anomaly itself, this will allow you to keep-track of how much further you need to dig.
  5. Now that you have cleared the maximum dug-depth towards the anomaly/artifact using your excavation picks, remove all ores/rocks from your excavation site. (If you do not, they will interfere with the Suspension Field Generator and potentially damage your anomaly.)
  6. Once you have cleared all ores/rocks from the excavation site, turn on the Suspension Field Generator. (If the generator is not turning on, ensure that you have wrenched such down securely, the power-cell is charged, and that you previously unlocked the equipment using your identification-card.)
  7. Now that the Field Generator is online, begin using the wire-brush to slowly excavate the remaining distance towards your anomaly/artifact. Once you have successful removed such from the site, the Suspension Field Generator will deploy a net-like field and secure the anomaly for your collection.
  8. Disable the Field Generator and collect your anomaly/artifact, store such safely within a bag or container before continuing further excavation operations. You will want to use the Depth Analyzer once again on your previously excavated site, if the analyzer pings once again you will want to examine the new information presented then return to step-two.
  9. Return to the Petrov with all your collected anomalies/artifacts, enjoy the blissful process of creating/developing a story or explanation for your discovered materials! The Chief Science Officer and Corporate Liaison are certain to be excited about your accomplishments!

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