Not exactly a wreath, but this fossilized shell and sprays of wheat still count as Christmas decorations in Colonial Williamsburg. The fossil is a Chesapecten jeffersonius, from the nearby James River – the official "state fossil" of Virginia. Chesapecten fossils were first noted by the Jamestown settlers in the early 17th c., and officially given their scientific name in 1824 in honor of American President Thomas Jefferson. Chesapecten fossils were also the first North American fossil to be depicted in a European scientific publication, Historiae Conchyliorum, published in 1687by Martin Lister(who was, in that impossibly small world of 17th c. England, uncle to Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough) – all of which makes this a thoroughly historical Christmas ornament.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.