[NB The brief explanation given below has been drafted on the assumption that the reader is already familiar with the basic building-blocks used in Celtic topographical place-names (Chapter 1 of the Home menu), with the structure of compound place-names (Chapter 2) and with the structure of Celtic river-names (Chapter 19)]
This tribal name is not referred to in any of the ancient texts but is deduced from an inscription on a tombstone apparently found at Old Penrith, the inscription reading ‘SEN(atori) IN C(ivitate) CARVETIOR(um).
It seems most probable that the tribal name is derived from a river-name of the form Carventena (though the ending need not have been ena). This river-name is of a known structure and comprises a river-suffix vent(ena) attached to a place-name Car(ion), where Car is an old-style place-name element meaning ‘steep hill’. There are several place-names in the hill-letter r in the basin of the river Eden in Cumbria, for example Brocavo at Brougham, Brovonacis at Kirkby Thore and Bereda at Old Penrith (Plumpton Wall), so the Car element is entirely in order in that region. The river-suffix comprises the river-letters b (changed to v) and t. The river-letter t corresponds to the hill-letter l and we see both l1 and l2 in Lagubalium at Carlisle. It thus seems entirely reasonable to regard the civitas of the Carveti as having been located in the basin of the river Eden, as several writers have suggested in the past, and Carlisle may well have been the civitas capital. The n of the river-suffix (the original ending of the river-suffix before the river-letter t was added) has been omitted, Carventi thus becoming Carveti.
[This page was last modified on 08 April 2021]