But staff at a Royal Mile tourist venue have been prompted by the past to launch their own time capsule for the future.
The items were uncovered under the floorboards by workmen carrying out the £1 million revamp of The Scotch Whisky Experience shop.
Now, staff plan to create a time capsule that will define Edinburgh 2012 for future generations and which will be placed in the wall cavity of the new shop.
They are appealing to members of the public for ideas on what to put inside.
Marketing manager Julie Trevisan Hunter said: “It was our technical manager Dave Wilson’s idea to create a time capsule, and I thought it would be lovely. It will be a small wooden box and we will try to fit it in the wall cavity.”
Staff plan to add two whisky miniatures – a well-known brand and a relatively new one – inside the capsule, as well as a promotional leaflet on the centre.
They are encouraging Edinburgh residents to suggest some small items, as well as statements or questions about the Capital, to go inside.
Mrs Hunter, who thinks it will be at least 25 years before the time capsule is opened, said: “It would be nice to see what other people think and what’s meaningful to them about Edinburgh.”
The six old cigarette packets and three matchboxes, thought to be from the 1950s, as well as two glass ink pots and a tin of Royal baking powder, below right, were found under the floorboards at the front of the building when Edinburgh contractors Laurence McIntosh lifted the old floor to make way for a new oak one.
They won’t be going in the new capsule but may end up on display in the shop.
The Scotch Whisky Experience building was previously Castle Hill Primary School, built in 1887 on the site of a tenement dwelling which dated back several hundred years and was demolished in the early 1880s.
The school opened in December 1888 and closed in June 1951, at which point the building became a catering college before opening as an urban studies centre around the 1970s.
The building opened as The Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre in May 1988 after lying in a state of disrepair for a number of years, with the name later changed to The Scotch Whisky Experience.
Director and general manager Susan Morrison said: “The two little ink pots are presumably from the school days and the old rusty tin of baking power is presumably from the catering college days.
“The cigarette packets and matchboxes could well have been from contractors who were turning the building from a school into a catering college, especially if they got under the floor.
“I presume the ink pots just managed to find their way in there, as did the baking powder.
“I think it’s great because it’s almost like a little bit from each guise of the building has appeared underneath the floor.”
The shop refurbishment got under way in January and is expected to be completed by March 16, with the shop planned to reopen on March 19.
The redesigned space will include an interactive guide in 20 languages as well as three touch screens, several iPads and a new gallery area.