MARY Livingstone, wife of the Scots explorer and anti-slave campaigner David Livingstone, died in a building that was actively used at the time as a slave holding pen, a new book reveals.

Shupanga House, on the banks of the Zambezi River in Mozambique, was used to imprison slaves waiting for transfers down the Zambezi to the Portuguese slave markets on the coast from 1785 until 1870.

Mary died at the spot in 1862, says author Julie Davidson in Looking for Mrs Livingstone.

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The building is referred to, in all the Livingstone biographies and published chronicles of the time, as a rest house. Mary was carried there to die from the expedition boat on the Zambezi. Ms Davidson visited Shupanga and interviewed village elders.