Archaeologists have discovered an Anglo-Saxon wooden butter churn lid at a rail development near Stafford.
But radiocarbon tests have revealed the lid of the butter churn dates from the early medieval period.
The tests have put a fragment of wood found with the lid as dating between AD715-890, so the lid is from the same period as the Staffordshire Hoard.
Dr Emma Tetlow, of Headland Archaeology is senior archaeologist at the site where Network Rail is building a new flyover and 11 bridges on the West Coast Main Line as part of the £250million Stafford Area Improvements Programme.
Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of earth have been moved at the site to date, but checks are undertaken by Dr Tetlow during ground works. She said she was surprised but delighted by the news as there was so little evidence of this period archaeologically.
“During this period this part of Staffordshire was part of the Mercian heartland and was populated by a pagan tribe called the Pencersaete.
She added: “Existing knowledge of this period for the north and east of the Midlands and the UK in general is very scarce, so this find is fantastic and of regional significance.”
A number of Victorian stoneware bottles bearing the names of breweries from Bristol to Manchester have also been unearthed. Local residents will have the chance to view some of the objects and discuss them with Dr Tetlow and other colleagues working on the site at an information day in June.