Aileen Mary Fox, Lady Fox, FSA (née Henderson, 29 July 1907 – 21 November 2005), was an English archaeologist. She specialised in the archaeology of South West England, notably excavating the Roman legionary fortress in Exeter in Devon after World War II.
29 July 1907
|Died||21 November 2005 (aged 98)
|Alma mater||Newnham College, Cambridge|
The daughter of a solicitor, she was educated at Chinthurst School in Surrey and later at Downe House School in Kent. She remained at the school after it moved to Berkshire, under the headship of Olive Willis, and then went on to read English at Newnham College, Cambridge. After her graduation in 1929, she worked as a volunteer on the excavation of Richborough, Kent, under J. P. Bushe-Fox. She spent the following winter at the British School at Rome, before returning to Richborough. In 1932 she excavated at Hembury hillfort, Devon and Meon Hill, Hampshire.
In 1933 she married 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 Fox continued to lead her own excavations, such as at the Roman legionary fortress at Isca Augusta (Caerleon, Wales) in 1939. Fox lectured at the University College, Cardiff, from 1940 to 1945. Her most notable achievement was her three seasons of excavation at Roman Exeter, following damage from World War II. 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. 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.
In 1965, she was a founding member of the Hillforts Study Group, alongside Christopher Hawkes and others. In the late 1960s, Fox played a key role in establishing the Exeter Archaeological Field Unit. She served as the president of the Devon Archaeological Society (1963-64) and as a vice-president of the Council for British Archaeology. 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 in 1935, she became known as Lady Fox.
In 1944, Fox was elected to a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. In 1985 she was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of Exeter  and in 1998 honorary membership of the Prehistoric Society.