[If the text below uses any of the terms ‘hill-letter’, ‘river-letter’, ‘old-style name’, ‘transitional name’ and ‘inversion-type name’ a reader who is not familiar with those terms may wish to refer briefly to ‘The Celtic names of hillforts’, where an explanation of those terms is given].



The Celtic names of hillforts


Castle Hill


Location: just northeast of Bar Hill, East Dunbartonshire

OS map reference: NS 709 761                                         

Celtic name: probably Nedionemedon, but possibly Sedionemedon or even Redionemedon

Source: Ravenna Cosmography (196) - Medionemeton


This is a small Iron Age hillfort surrounding the summit of a hill, some 155 metres above sea level, at a point on the line of the later Antonine Wall just east of the village of Twechar in East Dunbartonshire. The writer’s reasons for associating Ravenna’s Medionemeton with Bar Hill, some 200 metres southwest of the hillfort, are given in Chapter 22 (The Antonine Wall) of the Home menu.

The original name of the hillfort will have been Nedion (or possibly Sedion or Redion) where Ned (or Sed or Red) is an old-style element meaning ‘hill summit’. The later, second element of the name must therefore also have been old-style, i.e. it must have been medon rather than meton, where med means ‘hill summit’. The compound name is thus entirely appropriate for the site of the hillfort. The Ravenna name refers to the early Antonine fortlet underneath the Antonine Wall fort, though it is highly probable that the Wall fort retained the name. The med element, the latest element in the Celtic name, indicates that the hillfort was occupied by Ptolemy’s Damnoni in the late pre-Roman period (the Damnoni appear to have used the hill-letter m). It is not clear at what point the initial letter of the name changed to M.


[This page was last modified on 26 September 2020]