Nottingham's Underground Cave City Uncovered with Lasers

The labyrinthine complex of caves under the city of Nottingham certainly has history, from giving passage to sieging soldiers in the 1300s to housing an underground butcher centuries later. Now it's all been mapped, thanks to a thorough 3D laser scan.

Above is a complete map of the Peel Street Caves, a former sand mine that was utilized as an air raid shelter during World War II. Some of the houses on the residential streets above the caves have basements that open directly into them, which sounds like just about the coolest damn thing a kid could ever find in a basement. I mean, I was excited when I found my dad's old trumpet in the basement, much less an entrance to an incredible historic cave complex. For example....

Nottingham's Underground Cave City Uncovered with Lasers

That's Mortimer's Hole, a craglike entrance through which the soldiers of Edward III supposedly entered the castle at Nottingham and captured Roger de Mortimer in 1330. It's one of many fascinating historical tidbits to be found at the Nottingham Cave Survey, which is using a laser scanner to meticulously catalog the shape and surface of the entire cave complex. Here's a walkthrough:

The project has catalogued over 450 sandstone caves under Nottingham, though Goose Gate sounds particularly intriguing:

Goose Gate is a large cave system of varying date. The system includes a malt kiln complex and well, and a butchery of 19th century date. There are a number of interesting medieval sandstone pillars within this system.The caves and premises above them are currently being developed for a restaurant and bar. Customers will be able to dine in the caves!

Dining in the caves? That's verging on a little too uncovered. [Nottingham Cave Survey via BLDG Blog via io9]