TTT Prehistoric Era How-To: Excavation Site

Hey Howdy Hey Tappers!

Wowzers!  Dinos are roaming the streets of our Springfield’s as we’ve flashed wayyyy back in time, via Homer’s toaster, to the Prehistoric Era!  This all new Time Travel Toaster Event is full of fun historic flashbacks, kicking things off with a trek back to Dinos and Cavepeople!

You can tell EA is trying to do a few things different with this event…for starters it’s a week shorter and there are more prize elements, but it’s really the Excavation Site that people are digging…see what I did there? 

The Excavation Game has Tappers everywhere talking…about the best strategy, how many moves they can find the Gem in and apparently it’s become almost as addicting as this site !;)

So let’s breakdown the how-tos of this dig site & explore just what is the best dig strategy….

As we always do, let’s start with the basics…

How Do I Get Started With the Excavation Site?

To get the Excavation Site you’ll have to work on the main questline, launch the event and then start the Buried In Time questline.  Buried in Time Pt.1 is what triggers you to build the Excavation Site.

Note: ou’ll see that there are two layers to the Dig Site once you start digging.  The Grass layer (as shown above) and the dirt layer, which appears after you’ve cleared the Grass Grid (i.e. found the Gem).

Once you’ve cleared the dirt layer it resets back to grass.

I Have a Task to Unearth a Gem, but I Ran Out of Shovels.  How do I Get More?!  I’m Stuck!!!  It won’t let me move!!! PLEASE HELP!!!!

Ok maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration of the questions we’ve been seeing, but it does seem like some of you are getting stuck with this.  As part of the Buried In Time Pt.1 quest you’ll have to build the site AND Dig to unearth a Gem.  However it’s very possible you’ll run out of shovels (in fact i recommend doing so, but ONLY with this part) before you find the Gem.

If this happens…DO NOT PANIC!  Just breath.  Seriously, it’s going to be ok.  As I’ve mentioned in the rundown post, during this part of the questline the game will give you more shovels for FREE.  Just keep tapping the boxes….And volia! Just like that you’ll have more shovels for FREE, to finish out this part of the questline.

I Did That, But My Game Reverted and Now I Have to Do the Same Part Over to Complete it!

If that happened, you should still have Mom and Pop’s (because that’s unlocked with the next part of the questline) so just make more shovels and dig again.  You’ll still get credit for it.

If you’re stuck in some weird time space Excavation Site continuum, and nothing is working.  My first suggestion is always to uninstall TSTO and reinstall it (as long as you have an EA account to save your game you won’t lose progress). If that doesn’t work and you’re not unstuck…contact EA.

What’s the Object of the Excavation Site?

So the object of the Site is to find the Gem in as few moves as possible.  You’ll need the Gems for the Excavation Site prize track (more on that in a moment).  In doing so you’ll earn more Fossils, Specimens (for Crafting) and Tacyons (for leveling up the Panini Press).

How Do I Dig?

Well the in game tutorial will show you, but basically you just Tap the Squares in the grid…

But like real life, unless you really want to get your hands dirty, you’ll need shovels to dig.  No digging with your hands, it really messes up your screen.

You can earn Shovels at Mom and Pop’s Hardware.

How do you get Mom and Pop’s Hardware?  Glad you asked.  You follow the questline.

The very next task, Buried in Time Pt. 2 will trigger you to build Mom and Pop’s Hardware. Via Mom and Pop’s you’ll be able to send characters on tasks to EARN Shovels to dig.

Note: for Buried in Time Pt. 2 you’ll only be able to send Lisa, Milhouse and Cletus to earn the shovels.  The tasks, ONLY for this part will be 6s long.  Once you’ve cleared this part of the questline it’ll revert to 4hrs.

How Long Are the Tasks to Earn Shovels? Who Can Earn Them? 

The Shovel Tasks are FOUR hrs, you knew it’d be in there somewhere.  For the Prehistoric Era you can send….

Gravedigger Billy
Cavegirl Booberella

And before you ask, to send them you just tap on Mom and Pop’s Hardware and the list will appear…

What Does the 199 Mean?

It’s the number of Shovels you can bank before you need to use them.  It’s irrelevant to 99% of you if you’re continuing to dig each time you get shovels.

What Does Each Character Earn at Mom and Pop’s?  How Many Shovels, How Many Fossils?

Regular Characters (Lisa, Milhouse, Celtus, Willie & Apu) earn 2 each and 104  each, when they complete the 4hr task at Mom and Pop’s

Gravedigger Billy earns 3  and 156 , every 4hrs at Mom and Pop’s

Cavegirl Booberella earns 4  and 208 , every 4hrs at Mom and Pop’s

So if you just have FREEMIUM characters, you’ll earn 10  and 520 , every 4hrs at Mom and Pop’s from their tasks

If you have everyone you’ll earn 17  and 884 , every 4hrs at Mom and Pop’s.

The Store Shows That I Can Buy Shovels For Donuts, Should I Spend Donuts On Them?


The Excavation Site is meant to be addicting.  The Shovels in the store are meant to be there to tempt you and feed your Addiction.  They want you to part with donuts over something silly like the shovels.  DO NOT DO IT!

The only time it may be acceptable, is if you’re way behind and need to catch up.  In which cause go with the biggest pack and play very smart to maximize your Gem total.

What Does the Dig Site Pay Out?

So for every square you dig up you’ll earn 42   and you’ll have a chance for Specimens and

The  and  will vary depending on where you tap (and it’s different at every level), but the Fossil Payout will always be 42/square.

Note: Upgrading the Panini Press will (at points) increase your payouts from the Excavation Site.  When this happens your Fossil rate per square tapped will increase.  42 is the base number, and the min you’d get per square.

What Are These Excavation Site Prizes?

In your event hub you’ll see that there are 5 Excavation Site Prizes to be earned.  You earn these as you collect Gems. You’ll need 48 Gems to unlock the Baby T-Rex.

I’ll cover more on prizes below.

Ok So Now I Know How To Dig, What’s the Best Way TO Dig?  Is There Strategy Involved?  Should I Just Tap Blindly? HELP!

Ok so the best way to beat the dig site and earn all 48 Gems you’ll need to unlock the Baby T-Rex before the Prehistoric Era is over (June 11) is to find the Gem in as FEW Digs as possible.

The Gem is ALWAYS Surrounded by Rocks.  Usually 4 blocks of Rocks, sometimes 2-3 if it’s on an edge.  Looks like this:

So a big thing is to always look for the rocks.

There are A LOT of strategies floating around out there. I posted several yesterday and there are more in the comments, as well as on the EA forum.  I can tell you’ve I’ve personally tested every one I posted yesterday, a few from the forums and 1 other method…it was a lot of digs (and a lot of donuts) and I’ve found the two BEST methods…in my opinion.  Here they are…

This first one is from DaPimp:

This is how you START your digs.  From here you go to the corners.  When you find rocks you stop the pattern and dig around to find the Gem.

As you can see in the image above, I found Rocks on the 3rd Tap so now you would dig around those rocks to find the Gem.  (i.e. stop the pattern and follow the rocks)

I ran this method from DaPimp A LOT.  And I’ve found it to be the best.  On average I found the Gem in 6 digs.

Now sometimes it’s less, sometimes it’s more.  It’s an average.  The most it took with this method was 14 and the least was 1.  (It only took 14 once in the test runs I did.  More often than not I was in single digits every single time)

It’s not perfect, there were 2 times I started in those 4 spots, went to the corners and still didn’t find a rock.  When that happens (and it’s not often), you just kind of rely on dumb luck..or looking to see what area isn’t uncovered. When that happened it took me 14 tries to find the Gem and 10 tries to find the Gem.  Every other time this was spot on.  So a 6 average was pretty solid.

Method 2…

This method is from Bugman.  I posted this one last night…

This is the pattern you need to follow to find the Rocks.  This one is pretty solid as well.

I completed this in the same number of tests as the other methods and this one averaged 6.8 digs to find the Gem.

With this method I did have a 14 Dig, as well as a couple 12s and a 10..but mostly single digits…and overall this was a good method as well.

Remember, you’re ultimately relying on a bit of luck once you find the stones, as to what direction the Gem will be.  So that plays a role in the number of digs as well.

Overall, these are the 2 best methods I’ve found.

Now, I know there are a ton of other methods floating around…so I’m sure I didn’t test every single one.  But these two work, have 6-6.8 averages and are really simple to follow.  I recommend either one.

Now That I Know The Strategy, What Are the Prizes?

This prizes are just for the Prehistoric Era and they will reset when the next Era hits…

There are 5 total prizes….

Prehistoric Foliage Pack of 3)- 3 Gems

Prehistoric Plant- 9 Gems

Dragonfly Rock- 16 Gems

Cave Drawing- 24 Gems

Baby T-Rex- 48 Gems, NPC.  Animated when tapped.

And that’s it my friends!  The details behind the Excavation site!  Complete with the best (IMO) strategies to find the Gems in the Shortest number of turns!

What are your thoughts on the Excavation Site?  How many Gems have you earned?  Are you using Strategy or just tapping blindly? Which Strategy do you find works?  Thoughts on the Excavation Prizes?  Sound off in the comments below, you know we love hearing from you!


119 responses to “TTT Prehistoric Era How-To: Excavation Site

  1. Is there anything significant about the sounds you get when you dig an empty square? Not every square gives up the same sound


    • When you hit a rock square, it makes a “clunk” sound–as if the shovel were actually hitting rock instead of dirt!


      • I mean the echoey metallic sound that you only *sometimes* hear when digging empty squares.


        • Yeah, after I replied, I went out to the excavation site and heard that other noise and was all, “I’ll be that’s what LL was talking about!” And my answer to that is, no idea. I did a whole bunch of excavating this morning and tried to discern a pattern–was it every three shovels? Was it every time I got close to a rock but didn’t hit it? There was no observable pattern to me. Hope someone else knows or has an idea!


  2. I just reached the Baby… and then what?

    it’s interesting to accumulate those shovel’s until the part II?


  3. Once you have the gem last prize is it better to find the gem or dig more and not uncover the gem? I can’t figure out how the payout is working. Do you get a bonus for finding the gem other than the gem itself?

    Liked by 1 person

    • That has been the question: do you get more fossils/items for clearing the dig with a minimum of shovels, or does it make more sense to avoid the gem and get more piles dug out? Or is the payout the same? Anyone chart this?


      • I haven’t investigated the difference scientifically, but intuition tells me that using 10 or fewer shovels to clear all 36 squares instead of 36 shovels to clear 36 squares is going to give you more prizes per shovel — and the number of shovels is the limiting factor, not the number of fields.

        To put it another way, digging every square directly would need to give you well over 3.6 times as big a payout (or more like 6x, if it takes closer to 6 shovels on average to find the gem), or else it’s a lose. That’s a difference that’s so great that it should be *really obvious* that shoveling every square gives more prizes, to anyone who’s even tried it a few times. So the very fact that people are asking this question seems like a pretty strong indicator that this is not the case.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This method is guaranteed to work in 10 shovels or less:
    I redrew it on a sinlle grid on the back of an envelope and numbered the squares according to the explanation. Once you do it a half dozen times or so, you’ll know it by heart.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yours is the best strategy I’ve found. (I came up with nearly the same thing independently, except your moves 4,5,6,7 were an improvement over what I’d had). I’d just say though that the end moves work out just as well on average if you go for one of the two squares on the right first. Going for the left first lets you guarantee having it in 10 moves at most but at the expense of giving up any chance of having it in 8.


    • arturoga83390

      wow, nice technique, basically, if someone has played chess, the movements of the knights are the way to go, starting from one of the first centermost blocks, this from digging 1 through 7


  5. I have earned baby T. rex so should I stockpile shovels now or not worry about that?


  6. My method is as follows: 1,1 – 1,3 – 1,5 – 3,2 – 3,4 – 3,6 – 5,1 – 5,3 – 5,5. If it doesn’t find a rock, the gem will be in the squares that don’t have any adjacent squares dug yet. If it finds a rock, search that area. The best thing about it is that it doesn’t matter which corner you start from, just pick a corner and that is 1,1, then you can go either direction. Any square can be a part of that pattern.


  7. Jeroen Beck (NL)

    Nice update but i started tot late. i started fryday and not at tuesday. so i think i am not get to the end at this act


  8. Quality Strategies 😉
    Never waste Donuts / Bonuts (unless you’re behind)
    Prizes are OK – except NPC Baby T-Rex (c’mon EA, I’m not rushing to earn 💩 like that!)


  9. Hi Alissa, when 48 gems collected and unlock baby t-rex. Any ideas should I keep on digging for gems, or save shovels for later acts of event? Thanks.


  10. I have been using a mix of Teo47’s and Declan’s depending on where I am when I tap. I started off with Teo’s and the results have been superb (thanks very much Teo). However, for sneaky, away from home, work break tapping then, for me Declan is King. It’s a really easy pattern to remember and doesn’t require a crib sheet. For the As it’s just N-E-S-W (North, East, South, West) around the central box (of 4 squares). For the Bs it’s just the corners. For the Cs I just go anti clockwise, leaving a box out. For my non mathematical brain it works the best. As I was so far behind I did purchase 50 spades to get on track and it yielded the-best-gemfind-ever. So thanks Da Pimp, Teo, Declan and Alissa for collating it all (and for now replying to all the comments from tappers claiming to have a better method or trying to disprove the results☺️)….💜X


    • ps. Will use Bugman’s once I have the last prize, just to see how I get on with it.
      pps. Please don’t chastise me for using Donuts. I have plenty and what’s the point in just sitting on them when I have the perfect opportunity (and need) to use them?…..😎💜X


      • I’ve been XP farming for a solid 9 months now, and have just reached my goal of over 2000% bonus percent. Building 165 KEMs 5 times a day gives me over 500 donuts per day income. So.. I’ve bought a lot of shovels too. 🙂 Though I’m sticking to the best buy, which is to accelerate Cavegirl Booberella’s shovel job, to get 4 shovels every 2 donuts (best deal in the store is 1.43 shovels/donut). A bit more work, though, to have to wait the 4 sec for each job completion, etc., but I do it in small bursts, spending just 10-20 donuts each time.

        Currently have gotten 160 gems, 135k fossils, 3hr “cool down” time for the Panini Press, and am working up enough specimens to buy the Camel.

        Liked by 1 person

        • 2000%?

          How could you?

          You farmed Motorcycles?


          • KEM (“Kwik-E-Mart”) farming is a whole subject, and the main post that has all the info (though you’ll have to read through a lot of comments to get all the nuances) is here:


            I’ll try to give a brief summary.

            Part 1: getting donuts.

            Core facts:
            – The best — BY FAR — xp yield per money spent is in the *construction* of Kwik-E-Marts (“KEMs” for short). 2000 xp each, when you tap on the yellow checkmark to complete the construction.
            – KEMs have a very low price if you have very few of them in your Springfield, but the cost goes up with each one you build, maxing out at $14400 per KEM at around the 25th one.
            – As with all other items, you get 1/4 the purchase cost back when you sell a KEM.
            – The XP collider costs 25 donuts to stay active for 10 days.

            The procedure I use is:
            – Sell all but 1 of your KEMs (keep 1 around for characters’ jobs etc.)
            – Pick an area, ideally bordered by items that can’t be sold, and build out as many KEMs as you can afford on a sustainable basis. The link above has info and further links to help you get an idea of how many that might be, but simple experimentation can work too.
            – It’s easiest to build them if you leave them in the default orientation (with the long axis in the rising-from-left-to-right direction on your screen), and put them in long rows going in the other direction, upwards from right to left. This is the direction that the auto-placement works best with. I start from the bottom corner of my field, and the auto-placement lets me sort of spiral in from the edges towards the center, with only minor corrections when at the upper-left and lower-right edges.
            – After 4 hours, you can “harvest” your “crop” of KEMs, and collect the xp, by tapping each one to complete the construction. This will eventually be the most time-consuming part, once your bonus % is high enough, with all the bonut rounds (see below) you’ll have to get through. 🙂
            – Then sell off all those KEMs. This is important not only to reclaim that 1/4 of the money you spent building them, but it also brings the price back down to the minimum (220 money if you only have 1 other left).
            – Then “plant the new crop”, repeating the cycle.
            – I’m able to do 5 of these harvests in a day when I’m really staying on top of it, but 4 per day is probably more typical.

            If your bonus % is very low, you may not be able to have the XP Collider active, but once you are able to reliably generate more than 25 donuts every 10 days with it active, then you can afford to keep it going forever.

            If you haven’t maxed out your levels yet, you soon will, and then each 1-million XP you accumulate will give you a “bonut” (bonus donut) round.
            At first, you’ll want to keep tapping (and paying $50k) to make sure you get 3 donuts per bonut round. But once you are getting about 72k xp per KEM harvested, you’ll want to accept 2 donuts (that is, tap again only if the first tap got you 1 donut), and use the money saved to build more KEMs per harvest. Once you get to 162k xp per KEM, it will be cheaper to build more KEMs than do *any* additional tapping during bonut rounds; however, when I got there, I found that I just hated accepting only 1 donut in a bonut round, so I stayed with the “accept 2” method, and it worked ok.

            Part 2: Investing those donuts into bonus-% boosters.

            Here, I need to give credit to Charles, whose comments you’ll see in the post I linked to. He pointed me to what is by far the best %-boost-per-donut method: the Mystery Box (“MB”).

            It can be confusing to use at first, and it also will generate a lot of junk that you can either sell back or use, but it works out to cost somewhere around 8 donuts per 1% boost (I haven’t yet bothered to study all the screenshots I took, to get a precise number). It’s rare that you can find a better deal than that — the only one I know of was in the recent Around the World event, where you could get flags at 7.5 donuts per 1% boost.

            Basically, the Mystery Box is only slightly random; overall, as you buy MB after MB, it will reliably shift back and forth between giving you 3 Itchy & Scratchy billboards (1% boost each) and then 3 news vans (2% each). Your place in the cycle will be maintained no matter how long you take between MB purchases, so no worries there.

            In between each billboard or news van, there are almost always 2 junk items that you can sell back, and often a Lard Lad, which you can’t sell, but which will give you income if you can find a place to put it. Otherwise you can just leave those in storage. PLUS — and this is the important part — it will also give batches of either 30 or 10 donuts.

            Usually, I find that the next Mystery Box you get after the first News Van in the cycle will give 30 donuts; after the 2nd, another 30, then after the 3rd you get 10. After the billboards, you’ll sometimes get a 10. So if you happen to be starting in the “billboard” part of the cycle, you’ll find yourself spending a lot of donuts, and not seeming to get much, but if you’re in the “news van” part, you can wind up with several news vans and actually have more donuts than you started with. As you plow through cycle after cycle, eventually you zero in on that 8 donuts or so per % boost.

            Each full cycle — 3 vans, 3 billboards, and back again, with all the junk and donuts in between, should take about 30-40 donuts. If you start on the billboard side of the cycle, you’ll almost run out of donuts before you hit the first news van; after that, you’ll get enough free donuts to get you through the whole news van side of the cycle.

            So, I think that’s it. Don’t bother with the Jet Engine bikes. 🙂


        • Based on your KEM farming explanation below, at which point do you start farming both KEM and Mystery box? I’m going to start using that method to farm donuts as well.



          • As far as I can tell, do both from the beginning. I came into the Mystery Box a bit late (when I was at maybe 700% bonus), so I don’t know if there are any pitfalls in using it when your % bonus is low — but I can’t think of any reason why there would be.

            Basically, if you want to raise your % as fast as possible, buy another MB every time you have 6 donuts to spare, because each % boost you get, even in small increments, means it’ll that much easier to build more KEMs, which makes it easier to get a few more donuts, etc — same as how getting daily compound interest on your bank account gets you more money than if it were compounded monthly. Only problem is that you’ll need a somewhat steely psychology, since most of the time the prizes are junk, and it takes as many as four MB purchases before you get a billboard or van. A more comfortable approach would be to save up at least 40 donuts, and then do a bunch of MBs all in a row, and get through a full cycle; that should pretty reliably get you at least 3 billboards and 3 news vans, and so that’ll be a nice 9% boost for your efforts.

            Here, let me paste in some of the data I collected when I started getting MBs. Starting with some definitions:

            n = non-important prize
            B = billboard (1%)
            V = channel 6 news van (2%)
            1 = 10 donuts back
            3 = 30 donuts back
            l = Lard Lad

            My first MB purchases, made over time (I documented each one by taking a screenshot), were in this sequence:


            So, that means I got 2 junk that I could sell, then a Lard Lad, then a billboard, then 2 more junk, then a news van, then 30 donuts, and so on.

            For my last batch of MBs, I actually saved up over 1000 donuts (only took a few days by that time), and got over 100% of boost, finally putting me over my 2000% goal. Took a lot of tapping, though; when doing big batches, turning off the “spend donuts?” warning can really help.

            Oh, one more bit of advice, for buying both KEMs and MBs: since these tend to be buried deep in the menus, once you get it visible in the dialog box, hit the “x” in the upper-right corner; this exits the box, but also causes the game to save that place, so when you hit the tool button again, it’ll come up right where you were. Very helpful if you have to stop and reposition a misplaced KEM and then resume, or if doing many MBs in a row.


          • If anyone wants to take a look at my Springfield, to see how I lay out my KEM field, I’ve posted the friending info in the appropriate place:



          • I need to add: I may be misremembering that 40-donut number. 9% times 8 donuts per % gives 72, so it should be more like 80 donuts to get through a full cycle. 24 donuts (4 MBs) should be enough to give you *something* worthwhile, at least.


    • I’ve thought of a visual mnemonic that might be helpful to remember the first 3 squares in the Teo47 method. After that, it’s actually pretty straightforward to just figure out the next steps if memory fails.

      I’m going to be rather circumspect (circums-what?) in describing this mnemonic, for reasons that will be clear if I am successful in conveying what it is.

      – Starting from a corner of the field, tap the square that’s 3 squares in along each direction.
      – From one of the adjacent corners of the field (not the opposite corner), tap the square that’s 2 squares in along each direction.
      – Ok, now imagine that those two box-shaped pits you just dug are more…
      spherical in shape.
      – Then imagine a rod-like structure starting from between these two ball– er, spheres, extending towards the opposite edge of the field.
      – This rod isn’t *so* long, so don’t go all the way to the edge; stop just one short, and tap that square. That’s a comfortable size, I guess? Maybe a little short, and a little uneven, but don’t hold it against the guy.

      So now take a step back and look at the 3 dug-out squares, and visualize the thing that I hopefully put enough clues in above to let you know what it is. It may be easier to remember these three squares now.

      To go from there, now you have to try to shake that image out of your head, and go back to thinking about the nice, innocent plus shapes. The next 4 squares to try will be along the edges of the field, and there’s just one on each edge. They will each be at the center of a plus with just 3 arms, with the 4th arm is missing because you’re at the edge. If you look along each edge of the field, you’ll see that there’s exactly 1 spot where that 3-armed plus won’t overlap any of the 4-armed pluses, or any of the 3-armed ones from the other edges. Tap those 4 spots in any order.

      If still no rocks, there are just 5 more squares that don’t overlap any of the pluses drawn so far, and they’re all at the field edges. Two form a pair separated by just one other square, forming a group of 3; another two are right next to each other, along a different edge, the last is by itself on a third edge. Tap the center square of the group of three first, then either of the pair of two, and finally the one by itself.


  11. Hey Alissa. Is there a need to really further upgrade the tap radius (or really even the cool down time) once the panini press is at level 14 (4 hour recharge/cool down time) or higher? It seems to me that only the excavation site upgrade is worth doing at that point, and we are forced to just needlessly spend tachyons on those other 2 upgrades that are no longer needed. Am I missing something?
    Also, does the panini press blast give credit for the full 30 in town plus the 50 in bank (80 total)?
    Thank you for your help Alissa!


  12. Totally sticking with DaPimp’s method! Managed 4 gems with 17 shovels (final one revealed rocks…so close to 5!). As I’ll need 24 (!!!) gems for the final leg to unlock the baby T-Rex, I think this is the best method to achieve it.

    Awesome job, DaPimp!


  13. Pimp’s method works for me! I just got 4 gems with 13 shovels.


Leave a Reply....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s