Archaeologists dig for ‘The Ten Commandments’ buried sphinxes


In this 1923 file photo provided by the Guadalupe Dunes Center, whip-wielding overseers drive Hebrew slaves – or hundreds of costumed actors and extras in these roles – before a 10-story wood-and-plaster Egyptian city set, constructed for production of Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments,” near the town of Guadalupe on the wind-swept Central Coast of California. Archaeologists, film buffs and historians are trying to save what remains of the giant Egyptian city set, complete with statues of Pharaoh and an Avenue of Sphinxes, which was demolished and hastily buried in the wind-swept dunes after shooting was over. Now, in October, 2014, archaeologists have begun excavations on the sphinx that they hope will eventually be on display at the nearby Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center, which has raised $120,000 for the dig.

AP Photo/Guadalupe Dunes Center, File

Archaeologists working in the sand dunes along the Central California coast are digging up ancient sphinxes – but these are made of plaster.

The giant imitations of an ancient Egyptian scene were constructed more than 90 years ago for the silent black-and-white classic movie “The Ten Commandments.”

When filming was over in 1923, legendary filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille left them in the sands of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes in Santa Barbara County.

The Los Angeles Times reports that this week, archaeologists excavated a crumbling plaster sphinx from the ruins.

Another was partially exhumed in 2012 but money ran out.

When crews went back this year, they found another.


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