Discovering the ruins of an ancient civilization is an undeniably exciting event. Architecture, relics and art can reveal so much about the past. Sadly, it's easy for things to decay over time. Food is, of course, one of the most perishable items and very difficult to recover. However, there are certain foods that do actually stand the test of time well. That's because certain foods contain substances that prevent bacteria from breaking them down. Foods that provide inhospitable environments for bacteria will be able to last longer.
Salt is an obvious mineral that preserves food. Bacteria doesn't have such a drastic effect because salt is a rock, just like granite doesn't go bad either! We just happen to eat salt. Salt also sucks the moisture out of food and dryness prevents bacteria from spoiling food.
Bacteria also have a tough time decomposing products with a low pH. Acidity makes things very dry, which isn't an ideal environment for bacteria. Honey is a good example of this, even though it doesn't taste acidic or seem dry. Honey molecules are "hygroscopic," which means that they absorb water very well because their structure is so dry.
The main ingredient in alcohol is Ethanol, which is toxic. Concentrated alcohol can burn any small organism that happens to penetrate it. A poisonous environment isn't very hospitable for bacteria to inhabit and thus it's not easy for bacteria to break this one down.
Check out the slideshow above for foods that will stand the test of time.