Nottingham Caves Survey Coincides with Opening of New Robin Hood Movie

Undoubtedly there are many Russell Crowe fans out there just chomping at the bit in anticipation of seeing the star of Gladiator (2000) in yet another Ridley Scott cinematic spectacle this spring, Robin Hood, which is due for general release in theaters on May 14th.

Anyway, among the stories associated with this legendary figure — Robin Hood, not Crowe — is his imprisonment by the Sheriff of Nottingham in one of the ancient English town’s many caves.  In particular, it is believed he was held in an “oubliette,” or underground dungeon, which is now part of a tourist attraction called the Galleries of Justice.

Knowing little about it, I’ve always associated Nottingham in my mind with a forest, but it so happens the city itself is quite literally covered up with over 450 sandstone caves — which is why it’s sometimes called “The City of Caves.”  None of the caves are natural.  They were rather cut out of the soft sandstone by people for use as dwellings, cellars, workplaces and so on, and some have been dated as early as the 13th century.

At any rate, a new Nottingham Caves Survey (there was also one in the 1980s) is now underway to make three-dimensional scans of the caves using laser technology.  Many are considered dangerous, so the survey will help officials to determine which can be opened to the public and developed for tourism.

Greensboro Public Library has got lots of books about the mythical Robin Hood, and even some about caves, if you’re interested. 

Paul Creswick’s Robin Hood, illustrated by N.C. Wyeth, would probably be a great place to start on the legend, and J.C. Holt’s Robin Hood will afford some historical background and criticism.     

If you prefer recent fictional adaptations of the tale, we have Stephen Lawhead’s Tuck and Scarlett, as well as some interesting looking graphic novels such as Tony Lee’s Outlaw:  The Legend of Robin Hood and Robin Hood:  Outlaw of Sherwood Forest:  An English Legend by Paul D. Storrie.

As for caves and cave exploration, we especially have a number of fairly recent juvenile titles.  Older readers may prefer Caves:  Exploring Hidden Realms by Michael Ray Taylor.  We also have a very interesting title on the history of caving on order:  The Great Cave Race:  The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth by James M. Tabor.

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