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Rammed earth construction

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All,
I have a project in Rwanda on which my client wants to try some alternative means of construction.  Rammed earth and straw bale construction have come up.
 
(For those who haven't heard of these, rammed earth is made by building wall forms, placing soil in them, and pounding it until it rings.  It makes a durable, fireproof wall with local materials and labor.  Straw-bale construction involves stacking straw bales, often dowelling them together with wood dowels, then applying thick parging to each side.   This apparently results in a strong, fireproof, relatively durable wall too, although I know less about it than rammed earth.)  
 
Does anyone have information on either of these?  I am specifically looking for information on what soil properties are needed for a successful rammed-earth installation (e.g. clay content, sand content, moisture content).  I don't yet know whether a geotechnical engineer is available to the project; so information of the "holds together as a ball when dropped" type is also appreciated.
 
I appreciate any help, or alternate suggestions.
 
Thanks,
Mike Hemstad, P.E., S.E.
MBJ
Minneapolis, Minnesota