Birmingham and Stoke City Councils are fundraising to buy the hoard
Another dig is to be held at the site of where the UK's largest haul of Anglo-Saxon treasure was discovered.
The original find of 1,500 gold and silver pieces was made by metal detectorist Terry Herbert in a farmer's field in Staffordshire in July 2009.
Experts say the new dig is not expected to turn up any more gold, but could reveal how the original items came to be there.
Items from the hoard are on display in Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council's chief archaeologist Stephen Dean said the dig was to put the find into some some of context.
"We are trying to find features which could tell us what the landscape was like when the hoard was buried," he said.
"We might be looking for pits, ditches, for some structural evidence if any exists."
There is no evidence of any buildings there at the moment, he added.
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Stoke-on-Trent City Council is working with Birmingham City Council and the Arts Fund to raise £3.3m by 17 April to buy the hoard.
The Arts Fund said £2m had been raised so far and famous names such as Dame Judi Dench and Noddy Holder had given their support to the appeal.
Monty Python star and historian Terry Jones is visiting Birmingham later to look at the hoard items on display there.
If the money is not raised, the collection could otherwise be divided and sold to private collectors.
The National Heritage Memorial Fund, the fund of last resort for the nation's heritage, is meeting on Tuesday to discuss whether to help with funds or not.
Items from the hoard can be seen at The Potteries Museum in Stoke and at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until 18 April.