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David Livingstone Long-Lost Letter Deciphered at Last
A letter written by famed explorer David Livingstone. The contents of a long-lost letter written by 19th century explorer David Livingstone have been deciphered by a U.S.-British team of academics and scientists. AP Photo/Callum Bennetts Maverick Photo Agency.

LONDON (AP).- The contents of a long-lost letter written by 19th-century explorer David Livingstone have been deciphered by a U.S.-British team of academics and scientists.

The nearly 140-year-old missive was written by Livingstone as he struggled against extreme conditions in the African village of Bambarre, in present-day Congo.

With the famed explorer out of paper and low on ink, he tore pages from books and wrote with a pigment improvised from the seeds of a local berry.

In the letter to his future biographer Horace Waller, the usually unflappable Scot despaired of ever making it home alive.

Birkbeck College in London said Friday that bleeding ink, combined with Livingstone's chaotic handwriting, made the message indecipherable until it was examined by imaging scientists.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

London | David Livingstone | Birkbeck College |

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