In American Samoa, digging a pit is no simple task to undertake, particularly for a group of students with nothing but a shovel. The soil here is hard and compact, full of pebbles and lava rocks. Attempting to dig a pit would have been toilsome and ultimately fruitless. Fortunately, while on a fieldtrip, my classmates and I came upon an archaeological dig site. It was basically a big pit, about five feet deep, that was perfect for our observations. There were obvious changes in the soil through the different levels, and the archaeologist on location provided specific scientific information on the contents and properties of each level. There were five levels of soil in all, arranged in descending order.
Level one contained the type of soil that is common here in American Samoa. It is a deep brown, and even darker than usual because of the moisture that had absorbed into it. This soil is classified as silt clay; it is very fine and is thus soft and smooth. Recent rainwater had soaked into the soil, making the particles in the soil cling to each other in clumps. The soil is extremely rocky with many pebble sized water rocks, which are called ma’avai in Samoan. These are smooth and dark grayish-brown, and the moisture makes them appear slimy.
In the second level, the soil is composed of silt loam, which is a very moist type of soil that is fine and soft, but sticky and clumpy when wet, which is the case while we are observing it. The coloring of the soil is medium to dark brown—lighter than the silt clay, though not as light as the sand loam. The soil in this layer is very loosely compacted but only a few water rocks are present. Layer three consists of medium brown sand loam. This is not as finely textured, and is slightly grainier than the soil in the previous two layers. Protruding from the soil are small, white pieces of dead, broken coral. These are the only rocks present in this layer, save for a few large pebbles that seem to be dividing layer...
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