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Oxford Medical History #2: Grey matter Multi-Cache

This cache has been archived.

bodleianlibraries: Hiding place has been completely removed by the council. After four years in the field, it's time to retire this cache.

Hidden : 05/11/2014
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Size: Size:   small (small)

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Geocache Description:

2014 marks the 800th anniversary of Roger Bacon’s birth and provides an appropriate occasion to celebrate Oxford as a world centre of medical learning. This cache is one of a three-cache series inspired by a Bodleian Libraries’ exhibition which tells of the scientists, philosophers, and physicians who have contributed to our understanding of human biology in both health and disease.

The first location you need to find is the final resting place of many of Oxford’s distinguished doctors, including George Rolleston (1829-1881), Henry Acland (1815-1900) and Hugh Cairns (1896-1952). The second location is also related to Cairns and his work.

An enduring legacy of Cairns's work as a brain surgeon had its origins in an event that took place in May 1935, when T E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) was fatally injured in a motorcycle accident.

Unable to save the life of his gravely injured patient, Cairns set about studying how head traumas could be prevented or lessened. He advocated the compulsory wearing of crash helmets for both military and civilian motorcyclists and believed that adopting this approach would 'result in considerable saving of life, working time, and the time of the hospitals'. Over the decades this safety measure has prevented countless fatal injuries across the world.


  1. You’ll need to start by using the coordinates to find Hugh Cairns’s grave.
  2. Find the line that begins with the words ‘Died at Oxford’. The 4th and 5th numbers in that line are A and B.
  3. Find the line that begins with the words ‘Professor of Surgery’. The 4th number in that line is C.
  4. Find the line that begins with the word ‘Australia’. The 2nd (also last) and 4th numbers in that line are D and E.
  5. Substitute A, B, C and D into the following:
    N 51° 45.ABC'
    W 001° 15.D[A-B]E'
  6. The cache is approximately a mile away on flat pavements.
  7. You can check to see if your coordinates are correct by inputting them at


Initial swappables include: tiny skulls and postcards (some for keeping, some for sending – stamp included, so tell us about your adventures!)

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Ybbx va gur pebbx bs gur gerr gb gur evtug bs gur orapurf.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)