A team of archaeologists is to carry out a dig along the route of a planned river crossing to see if they can find significant traces of the past.
The new tunnel will run alongside the existing one
The experts, from Durham University, are investigating in advance of work on the New Tyne Crossing next year to ensure there are no hold-ups.
They will have up to eight weeks to find out what may be underground.
There is a possibility that findings could add to the understanding of Jarrow at the time of Bede.
Trenches will be dug in a variety of locations including behind the existing ventilation building in Jarrow, on land formerly occupied by St Peters Primary School and within the AMEC yard at Howden Basin.
Councillor Tom Hanson, vice chair of the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Authority, said: "It's timely to do this now so the New Tyne Crossing can be delivered on time.
"It will be interesting to see what, if anything, we can discover of the history of this part of Tyneside as a result.
"I understand the excavations may well tell us more about the early industrial era of Jarrow and East Howdon."