“It is viewed as a quickie technique, a form of impermanent architecture which we all figured that the settlers would want to abandon in favor of solid cut granite or field stone foundations,” wrote Chartier in his blog.

He went on to say that Duxbury volunteers had worked on the only 18th century post-in-ground structure ever found in New England, and only one of a few in the country.

“It has the potential to change our view of architectural styles and techniques and the notion of what was conventional and standard in architecture in the 18th century,” Chartier wrote. “In theory, the original builders of the Second Meeting House should have been able to acquire the stones to make a solid foundation, but they didn’t. Why not? That is a new research question and one that we will be investigating over the winter.”

The discovered only adds to the value of what was already a successful dig. Duxbury Rural and Historical Society Director Patrick Browne told volunteers on Saturday at a wrap-up meeting that they had participated in a special part of Duxbury’s history.

“You folks have been absolutely wonderful,” Browne said. “Everybody took this seriously and worked hard. You didn’t let anything slip through the sifter.”

Volunteers at the site said they enjoyed participating in the dig.

Gene Blanchard found a musket ball while sifting dirt. He said he didn’t immediately recognize what the small metal ball was, but had a hunch he’d found something of significance and brought it to Chartier, who confirmed it was an ancient piece of ammunition.

“I’ve always been interested in archeology,” Blanchard said. “It’s always important to learn where we came from.”

Shelia Lynch, a member of First Parish Church’s historical committee, said she was drawn to the project because of the possibility of finding Native American artifacts. The second meetinghouse site overlaps with a Native American site called Morton’s Hole, where a 9,000-year-old spear point was found in the 1970s.

“Duxbury is not only a 400-year-old community, it’s a 9,000 year old community,” said Lynch. “What really drew me to this dig was the layers of history.”