The archaeological traces of a settlement at Thirlings, in the Milfield Basin south of the river Tweed, were first identified in the early 1970s thanks to the aerial photography surveys that were being conducted by Norman McCord in Northumbria.

A series of cropmarks defined the rectangular outlines of at least six buildings. The structures are located few kilometres apart from the remains of the complex and large-scale timber buildings that were discovered at Yeavering and Milfield. These two sites had already been related by scholars to the regal elites of the early medieval period, and in particular to two villae regiae that are mentioned by Bede: Adgefrin and Maelmin. Thirlings is also only few hundred meters distant from Galewood, where, according to a notice written by Henry McLaughlan in 1867, burials described as “Saxon” were found in 1852. It seemed immediately possible, considering this situation, that the structures identified at Thirlings were part of a small early medieval rural settlement, which constituted a context much less known than the other monumental sites directly related to elites and rulers.

Today, even after the excavation of the site in the 1970s and early 1980s, the cropmarks at Thirlings are still visible in satellite images. In particular, it is possible to clearly recognise the outlines of the timber structures that were labelled as “Building A”, “Building B”, and “Building C” by the archaeologists who excavated the settlement.