Evidence of the early use of rammed earth has been seen in Neolithic archaeological sites of the Yangshao culture and the Longshan culture in China along the Yellow River dating back to 5000 BCE. By 2000 BC, the use of rammed earth architectural techniques was commonly used for walls and foundations in China.[11] In the 1800s in the United States, rammed earth was popularized by a book Rural Economy by S. W. Johnson. It was used to construct Borough House Plantation and Church of the Holy Cross in South Carolina, which are two National Historic Landmarks of the United States:[12] Constructed in 1821, the Borough House Plantation complex contains the oldest and largest collection of 'high style' pise de terre (rammed earth) buildings in the United States. Six of the 27 dependencies and portions of the main house were constructed using this ancient technique, which was introduced to this country in 1806 through the book Rural Economy, by S.W. Johnson. An outstanding example of rammed earth construction in Canada is St. Thomas Anglican Church (Shanty Bay, Ontario) built between 1838 and 1841.

Church of the Holy Cross (Episcopal) Stateburg or Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Stateburg, South Carolina, built of rammed earth in 1850–1852. The 1920s through the 1940s was an active research period for rammed earth construction in the US. South Dakota State College carried out extensive research and built almost 100 weathering walls of rammed earth. Over a period of thirty years the college researched the use of paints and plasters in relation to colloids in soil. In 1945 Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina published their results on rammed earth research in a pamphlet called "Rammed Earth Building Construction." In 1936 on a homestead near Gardendale, Alabama, the United States Department of Agriculture constructed an experimental community of rammed earth buildings with architect Thomas Hibben. The houses were built inexpensively and sold to the public, along with land sufficient for a garden and small livestock plots. The project was a success and provided valuable homes to low-income families.

The U.S. Agency for International Development is working with undeveloped countries to improve the building science around rammed earth houses. They also financed the writing of the "Handbook of Rammed Earth" by Texas A&M University and the Texas Transportation Institute. The handbook was never available for purchase by the public until the Rammed Earth Institute International gained permission to reprint it.[3] Interest in rammed earth fell after World War II when the costs of modern building materials dropped. Rammed earth became viewed as substandard, and often meets opposition with many contractors, engineers, and tradesmen who are unfamiliar with earth construction techniques.

In current times the search for sustainable building methods has resulted in rammed earth gaining immense poplularity among those who wish to build with environmentally-friendly and natural materials.  Rammed earth is now highly sought after as one of the most environmentally-friendly construction methods in the world.

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