[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


Merlin’s Hill


Location: east of Carmarthen

OS map reference:  SN 455 215                                                        

Celtic name: Maridunum

Source:  Ptolemy – Maridunum

            Antonine Itinerary (Iter XII) - Muriduno


This hillfort surrounds the summit of a steep-sided hill.

As it stands this name is a compound in the hill-letters m, r and n2, where the dun element means ‘summit of hill’. The name is thus appropriate for the site, though it is possible that it originally included a qualifier for one or both of the hill-letters m and r.

The Romans transferred the name of the hillfort to a new town (perhaps initially a fort) which they built a little to the west, at Carmarthen. It is this new town which will have been the Muriduno of the Antonine Itinerary.