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This arises when constructing the field.

sage: F = GF(64)
sage: F
Finite Field in z6 of size 2^6

The element "z6" is the generator of F over the prime field GF(2): the command F.gen() will return z6, and the documentation returned by F.gen?says 'Return a generator of "self" over its prime field, which is a root of "self.modulus()".' The documentation returned by F.modulus? says 'Return the minimal polynomial of the generator of "self" over the prime finite field.' In this case F.modulus() returns x^6 + x^4 + x^3 + x + 1.