Victoria Yuskaitis

Victoria Yuskaitis


I study English anchorites, the cells they lived in, and their varied experiences through an interdisciplinary project combining historical, literary, and archaeological approaches and diverse source materials, both archaeological and textual. 

I earned my BA in May 2014 from Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA (USA), where I studied Archaeology, Medieval Studies, and Creative Writing. After this I completed my MA in Medieval Archaeology in September 2015 at the University of Sheffield, where I was supervised by Hugh Willmott (Senior Lecturer in European Historical Archaeology at Sheffield). I started here at the University of Leeds in October 2016, and I am being funded through an Arts Cross Disciplinary Research Scholarship, supported jointly by the School of History and the School of English.

Research interests

My research interests include antiquarianism, medieval archaeology, medieval parish church history and archaeology, and of course anything related to medieval anchorites.  

The central research questions for my project are:

  • What can archaeological remains of anchorholds, particularly in Shropshire, indicate about anchoritic experience?
  • How do the archaeological record and the documentary and literary record inform each other?
  • What does this comprehensive analysis offer in terms of new ways to consider the anchoritic vocation and the lived experience of anchorites?

Archaeological experience

I have worked on various archaeological sites, either excavating or surveying, almost every summer since my first excavation in 2013:

In addition to working on these sites, I have been focusing on my own archaeological analysis of a group of parish churches in Shropshire, and have carried out research trips in April 2017 and April 2018 for this purpose. I have also coordinated research trips to the Shropshire Archives, as well as research trips to analyse English churches with potential anchoritic archaeology in other areas of England, such as Norwich and Kent. 

Work Experience

My work experience at the University of Leeds includes: 

  • IMS External Communications Intern (2018-19): Ongoing. Updating and generating website content, and working with new website platforms. 
  • IMS Website Intern (2017-18): Updated and generated website content, including events, news stories, calls for papers, and the calendar. 
  • IMS Promotions and Communications Intern (2016-17): Maintained the IMS email list, publicised medieval events at Leeds as well as other universities, and wrote regular newsletters.

Teaching/Outreach Experience 

  • Outreach Event at the Shropshire Archives (28 August 2018): I presented my archaeological findings from my case study churches in Shropshire to locals who have supported, encouraged, and facilitated my research in the area. Archival documents relevant to my research were also available to view. 
  • Education Outreach Fellow (2017-18, and 2018-19): Involves going to schools throughout England and teaching Year 12 students about various aspects of research, from the definition and avoidance of plagiarism to strategies for taking notes, to skills workshops such as interview skills and time management.
  • Archaeology in the City (2015): I introduced archaeology to middle-school children through an interactive display of archaeological tools, and encouraged their interest in the field. 

Conference experience

My graduate conference experience includes presenting, organising panels, and working in various capacities: 

  • IMC (International Medieval Congress) 2018 (2-5 July): Held at the University of Leeds. Co-organised a session titled 'Memory and Methodology: Anchoritic Legacies and Historical Reconstruction' with Alicia Smith (The Queen's College, University of Oxford). The session was held on Thursday, 5 July from 14:15-15:45, and was sponsored by the International Anchoritic Society. Presented 'Arcaheology and Anchoritism: A New Methodology' in this session.
    • Post-Congress Tour: The Wars of the Roses - Medieval Castles and Battlefields of the Midlands (6-9 July, part of IMC 2018 programming): I worked as an Excursions Assistant on this tour, which entailed organising the details of the trip and managing any issues or concerns raised by the tour guides, delegates, hotel staff, or bus driver. 
  • International Anchoritic Society Conference (28-30 June, 2018): Held at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. Presented 'The Materiality of Anchoritic Cells'.
  • Future of Medieval Studies (31 May-1 July 2018): Held at the University of Leeds. On the concluding panel.
  • Revealing Records IX (Ninth Annual Conference Series) (25 May 2018): Held at King's College London. Presented 'Archaeology and Antiquarianism: Interactions Between Medieval Material Culture and Post-Medieval Discourse'. 
  • IMC (International Medieval Congress) 2017 (3-6 July): Attendee, and also worked as an Excursions Assistant and Interviewer for delegate video interviews.
  • Re-evaluating the Religious: Recent Approaches to Monastic Archaeology (19-20 May 2017): Held at and sponsored by the University of Sheffield. Presented 'Anchorites and the Medieval Church: An Archaeological Perspective', and involved in organising and promoting the conference.


My academic publication record is as follows: 

  • Upcoming article in Studies in Medievalism, titled 'Medievalism and Julian of Norwich's Anchorite Cell'. Forthcoming Spring 2020. 


  • BA in Medieval Studies, Archaeology, and Creative Writing from Lycoming College (USA)
  • MA in Medieval Archaeology from the University of Sheffield (UK)