• Samoa;
  • intensification;
  • risk management;
  • arboriculture;
  • swidden


Samoan terrestrial production is vastly under researched archaeologically and few projects explicitly explore such a topic. This paper reports a food production system found in the interior of Olosega Island, one of three islands within the Manu'a group of American Samoa. This production system was part of a divided landscape, in which the residential was separated from the non-residential. This division was created by a large ditch that cuts across the landscape that was likely used for water diversion. Swidden horticulture was a key component in this production system, practiced upslope of the large ditch. Arboriculture occurred within the residential area downslope of the ditch. Such a production system illustrates the multiple paths cultures can take to increase production while staying resilient in their unique environment. The human population of Olosega utilized numerous ecological niches in order to minimize variance while also creating a productive food exploitation system.