Sir Cyril Fred Fox Kt FSA FBA MRIA (1882-1967) was one of the most distinguished archaeologists to have graduated from Magdalene College, Cambridge. The year 2023 is the centenary of his celebrated book The Archaeology of the Cambridge Region, published by Cambridge University Press in 1923, based on his Magdalene and Cambridge PhD of 1922. This seminal work introduced several innovations within archaeology, including the landscape perspective which has become a standard means of thinking and presenting the past in archaeology. Following the 1923 publication, Fox wrote, amongst others, another important work in 1932 called The Personality of Britain. Together these volumes emphasize the enduring relationship between archaeology, geography, landscape and environment.
The exhibition draws on these two volumes, alongside other materials, to look at two themes: Fox’s personality and the legacy of his research, both focused on his short, but important, Cambridge experience. The first examines Fox’s personality from material culture such as documents and maps, including the loan by a private individual of a copy of The Archaeology of the Cambridge Region presented by Fox to his father on his 90th birthday, and the supportive views of AC Benson, held in the Magdalene collections. Other materials are sourced from the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and the National Library of Wales (Fox spent much of his career in Wales as Director of the National Museum). The second presents subsequent discoveries in the Cambridge region by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU), other units and amateur organizations working in the region, one of the most explored archaeological regions in the whole of Europe. The exhibition is also conceived as an enduring legacy of the conference running in parallel to the exhibition, presenting the results of recent research in Europe alongside a record of Fox’s maps and later changes within the region. The material in the three display cases in the exhibition is drawn from the archives of Magdalene College, the National Library of Wales and a private loan.
The conference and exhibition are funded by the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Magdalene College, DAAD and Munich Exchange.