Aileen Fox, née Henderson, was born to an upper-middle-class family, the daughter of a solicitor. She was educated at Chinthurst School and Downe House School before coming out as a debutante in 1926. Despite some parental opposition, she went to Cambridge University to read English. Following her graduation in 1929, she worked as a volunteer on an archeological dig at Richborough, Kent. In 1933, she married Cyril Fox, 25 years her senior, director of the National Museum of Wales, with whom she had three sons. She became one of the pioneering 20th-century archaeologists who shaped the modern discipline. With her husband and after his death, she excavated a wide range of prehistoric and Roman sites throughout the UK. Her most notable achievement was her work on the Roman levels at Exeter. She also lectured at several universities in Britain and New Zealand. Her influential books included Roman Britain (1961) and South West England (1964). After her husband was knighted in 1935, she was also known as Lady Fox. Her autobiography, Aileen: A Pioneering Archaeologist, was published in 2000.