For archival, low acid, linen or silk paper has been found dating back to over 200 B.C. http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200205/13/eng20020513_95584.shtml
For a faux 'art work' effect, large format (3 foot and wider) printers are printing on some stippled paper for the illusion of brushwork.
For office, we just get it by the truckload based on price. This is the bulk stuff business runs on.
For photos, there is a variety of thickness, surface gloss and colors.
Your question is a good one, but without a point of reference I think we could talk that the proper medium can be from stone tablets, papyrus, to what we can obtain today.
Have you seen those sheets of porous aluminum you can put through your printer? After you print and it dries, a final polyurethane coat is applied and you have something that should outlast you. Great for museum signage.
I am writing an article for BookTech Magazine discussing the best paper to use for digital printing. I'd like to interview any print buyers or publishers to get your take on what you've learned and the tricks of the trade in regard to best papers.
pls email me with your name/company (phone nu if you prefer) and i'll shoot you over a couple questions. thanks a lot.