Location of the early medieval timber buildings excavated at Thirlings in aerial photography (above) and satellite images (right).
Images in the animation: © O’Brien & Miket 1991: 60, plate 1 (https://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/library/browse/details.xhtml?recordId=3078051); © Google Earth.

The Discovery

The settlement of Thirlings, in the Milfield Bain, was first identified by Norman McCord in the early 1970s using aerial photographs.  

Cropmarks showed the rectangular outlines of at least six buildings. They are only a few kilometres away from the large and complex timber buildings at Yeavering and Milfield. Both of these sites are linked to royal elites, mentioned by Bede as Adgefrin and Maelmin.  

Thirlings is also only a few hundred metres from Galewood where Henry McLaughlan claims to have discovered “Saxon” burials in 1852. Considering its context, Thirlings seems to have been a small early medieval rural settlement. These sites are not as well understood as elite settlements like Yeavering.    

Even after excavations in the 1970s and 1980s, the cropmarks are still visible in satellite images. It is possible to clearly recognise the outlines of the timber structures labelled by the archaeologists as Building A, Building B and Building C.  

Virtual Museum | Thirlings Building A | The Site | The Building | Reconstruction by the archaeologists | (Re)construction at Gyrwe (A) | (Re)construction at Gyrwe (B) | (Re)construction at Gyrwe (C) | The analysis of acoustics

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