However, the Anglo Saxon remains came as a complete surprise.
The surface mine at Shotton has given us the first direct evidence of Anglo Saxon settlement in this part of the county, and has confirmed its potential for making important archaeological discoveries.
Jonathan McKelvey, archaeological project manager with TWM Archaeology, said: "The site is not only a significant archaeological find for the county, but an important comparative site for other Anglo Saxon sites elsewhere in the country.
But in spite of this, Anglo Saxon society was a place rich in culture - a fact proved by the stunning artifacts in the Staffordshire hoard found by metal detector Tony Herbert.
Beowulf is only one example of the Anglo Saxon world's poetic splendour.
Anglo Saxon England was also home to one of the great intellectuals of the Middle Ages - the monk known as the Venerable Bede.
The 'serpentine line' favoured by the Anglo Saxons
also found expression in 18th century gardens as it did in the paintings of Hogarth and Blake.
Dr Steve Sherlock, a Redcar man born and bred is one of the leading Anglo Saxon archaeologists of his generation.
He has taken the study of Anglo Saxon settlement not only in the region, but nationally to another level of understanding.
Visitors are in for a triple treat - an Anglo Saxon
Taking place on July 19 families can go down to the World Museum and see what life was like for Anglo Saxons
Theod, an Anglo Saxon living-history re-enactment group, will be at the Arbeia Roman Fort in South Shields on Saturday and Sunday.
Alex Croom, curator at the fort, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for visitors to experience Anglo Saxon life and to find out more about the earliest English citizens.
NGyrwe, an Anglo Saxon
demonstration farm containing rare animal breeds and experimentally reconstructed timber buildings
Pollington has written many books about the Anglo Saxons
and Old English.