[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)]



The Geography of Ptolemy would appear to be the only ancient text which refers to this tribe.

This tribal name appears quite clearly to be based on a topographical place-name. The tribe appears to have used the hill-letter r, so the topographical name almost certainly had the form Dercandion, comprising the inversion-type element Derc meaning ‘summit of hill steep’ qualified by the old-style element and meaning ‘hill summit’. The hill-letter r has been omitted and the d changed to t, a common change in Romano-British place-names, to yield the form Decantion, the tribe then being called the Decantae. Dercandion appears to have been the hillfort on Craig Phadrig, just west of Inverness. The hillfort stands on the summit of a hill which is steep, more especially on its eastern side. The defences of the hillfort are thought to date back to about 350BC, which would be consistent with the hill-letter n in the and element of the name being n1.



[This page was last modified on 24 March 2021]