Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Artificial Caves Under Nottingham Mapped

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Laser Plan NottinghamNOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND—Archaeologists of the Nottingham Caves Survey are attempting to map each of the hundreds of human-made caves that are underneath the town. The team is using a 3-D laser scanner to create highly accurate maps of each chamber, some of which date back to the sixth century A.D., when Saxons settled the area and first began to carve out chambers in the easily excavated sandstone that underlies Nottingham. The chambers served as cisterns, malt kilns, pub cellars, and jails, most famously the one said to have held Robin Hood. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a great number were dug for storage beneath buildings. Though many were lost in the nineteenth century due to development, archaeologists estimate that some 450 survive, including several that served as bomb shelters during air raids in World War II. Gizomodo journalist Geoff Manaugh toured the caves this summer in the company of Nottingham Caves Survey archaeologists and has written a fascinating account of his visit