Aileen Fox

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Aileen Fox
Born 29th July 1907
Died 21st November 2005
Occupation Archaeologist
Awards FSA

Aileen Mary Fox, Lady Fox, née Henderson FSA (29 July 1907, London – 21 November 2005, Exeter) was an English archaeologist.[1]


The daughter of a solicitor, she was educated at Chinthurst School in Surrey and later at Downe House School in Kent and later at its new site in Berkshire, under the headship of Olive Willis, and went on to read English at Newnham College, Cambridge.[2][3][4] Following her graduation in 1929, she worked as a volunteer on the excavation of Richborough, Kent, under JP Bushe-Fox,[4] and spent the following winter at the British School at Rome before returning to Richborough.[5] In 1932 she excavated at Hembury hillfort, Devon and Meon Hill, Hampshire.[5]

In 1933 she married Sir Cyril Fox, the director of the National Museum of Wales, with whom she had three sons. The Foxes excavated prehistoric and Roman sites throughout the UK, although Aileen continued to lead her own excavations, such as at the Roman legionary fortress at Isca Augusta (Caerleon, Wales) in 1939.[6] Aileen lectured at the University College, Cardiff from 1940-45.[5] Her most notable achievement was her three seasons of excavation at Roman Exeter, following damage from World War II.[7] Following these excavations, she took up a lectureship at the University College of the South West of England at Exeter in 1947, and stayed until her retirement in 1971.[5] From the late 1940s onwards, she undertook key excavations in south-west England, shedding new light on prehistoric occupation of Dartmoor, Iron Age hillforts in the region and the Roman military presence in Cornwall.[8]

In 1965, she was a founding member of the Hillforts Study Group, alongside Christopher Hawkes and others.[9] In the late 1960s, Aileen played a key role in establishing the Exeter Archaeological Field Unit. She served as the president of the Devon Archaeological Society (1963-4) and as a vice-president of the Council for British Archaeology.[8] She believed in the nurturing of archaeological interest in the young, and produced her book Roman Britain in collaboration with the artist Alan Sorrell, whom she had met many years earlier at the British School at Rome. Following her husband's knighthood, she became known as Lady Fox.

Awards and Recognition[edit]

In 1944, Aileen was elected to a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.[8] In 1985 she was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of Exeter [8] and in 1998 honorary membership of the Prehistoric Society.[8]

Selected Publications[edit]

  • Fox, Aileen (1961). Roman Britain. London: Lutterworth Press. ISBN 9780718808006.  (Drawings by Alan Sorrell.)
  • Fox, Aileen (1948). "The Early Plan and Town Houses of Silchester (Calleva Atrebatum)". Antiquity 22: 172–178. 
  • Fox, Aileen (1952). Roman Exeter (Isca Dumnoniorum) : excavations in the war-damaged areas, 1945-1947. Manchester: Published for the University College of the South-West of England by Manchester University Press. 
  • Fox, Aileen (1955). "Celtic fields and farms on Dartmoor, in the light of recent excavations at Kestor". Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 20: 87–102. doi:10.1017/s0079497x00017795. 
  • Fox, Aileen (1955). "Some evidence for a Dark Age trading site at Bantham, near Thurlestone, South Devon". The Antiquaries Journal 35: 55–67. doi:10.1017/s0003581500048617. 
  • Fox, Aileen (1974). "Prehistoric Maori storage pits: problems in interpretation". Journal of the Polynesian Society 83 (2): 141–154. 
  • Fox, Aileen (1976). Prehistoric Maori Fortifications in the North Island of New Zealand. Auckland: Longman Paul. Monograph No. 6 of the New Zealand Archaeological Association. 
  • Fox, Aileen (1980). "A new look at Maori carved burial chests". Antiquity Cambridge 54: 7–14. 
  • Fox, Aileen (2000). Aileen: A pioneering archaeologist. Leominster: Gracewing. ISBN 9780852445235.  (Autobiography.)


  1. ^ Allen 2005.
  2. ^ Fox 2000, p. 25.
  3. ^ Fox 2000, p. 27.
  4. ^ a b "Aileen Fox". The Times (London). 21 December 2005. p. 48. 
  5. ^ a b c d Quinnell, Henrietta (20 January 2006). "Obituary: Aileen Fox". The Guardian. 
  6. ^ Fox, Aileen. "The legionary fortress at Caerleon, Monmouthshire: Excavations in Myrtle Cottage Orchard 1939". Archaeologia Cambrensis 95: 101–52. 
  7. ^ Fox, Aileen (1952). Roman Exeter (Isca Dumnoniorum): excavations in the war-damaged areas, 1945-1947. Manchester: Published for the University College of the South-West of England by Manchester University Press. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Quinnell (2013). Goldman, Lawrence, ed. Oxford dictionary of national biography 2005-2008. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 398. 
  9. ^ "The Hillfort Study Group".