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In January 1856, Livingstone and his party reached Zumbo, at the confluence of the Zambezi and Luangwa rivers, once a thriving Portuguese settlement trading in ivory and slaves. Livingstone found it in ruins with crumbling stone buildings. In his journal Livingstone imagined the scene in days gone by:
"The merchants, as they sat beneath the verandahs in front of their houses, had a magnificent view of the two rivers [...], the church at the angle, and the gardens which they had on both sides of the rivers."
Livingstone collected around a field of coal in Zumbo and he also found metamorphic rocks, such as gneiss, and volcanic rocks, like basalt.
Specimen of dolerite with 19th century museum label: ‘Dolerite. Dyke cutting through the coal field west of Zumbo. Presented by Dr Livingstone.’
Livingstone’s note written in the field for the Dolerite: ‘Dykes cutting through the coal field beyond Zumbo, westerward.’
Specimen of basalt with 19th century museum label: ‘Basalt. Dyke cutting through coal field west of Zumbo. Presented by Dr Livingstone.’
Specimen of gneiss with 19th century museum label: ‘Gneiss with garnets. Country above Zumbo. Presented by Dr Livingstone.’
Livingstone’s note written in the field for the gneiss: ‘A broad dyke of this set on edge mainly runs parallel with Zambesi above Zumbo on south bank.’