It started as a piece of one of the biggest movie sets ever created.
Nearly a century ago, Cecile B DeMille commissioned a set 12 stories high and 800 feet wide. It was built on the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes.
More than 3,500 people were brought in to work on DeMille’s epic silent film, “The Ten Commandments.” After filming wrapped, the set was too big to move so it was buried in the sand. It stayed until 2012 when director Peter Bronson set out to find the buried treasure.
“It took a very long time to get to the point of excavation and he excavated enough to make his documentary film but didn’t want to continue on anymore,” said Doug Jenzen, the executive director of the Guadalupe Dunes Center.
The 300-pound head of a sphinx that emerged from the dunes on California’s central coast traces its roots to Hollywood, not Egypt. The artifact is now on display at a little-known archaeology site and wildlife refuge in the farm town of Guadalupe, eight miles northwest of Santa Maria.
The Dunes Center works on excavating items unearthed from the massive set where Cecil B. DeMille filmed the silent movie “The Ten Commandments” in 1923. It’s a registered archaeological site.
The Dunes Center will unveil recent artifacts derived from a nearby movie set site Saturday night, and the center has opened the event to the public.
“Sphinx and Drinks: Gala, Auction, and Artifact Debut” will be a festive fundraiser and educational event, meant to share artifacts excavated from the set of “The Ten Commandments” by Cecil B. DeMille’s and open the Dunes Center museum’s work for educational opportunities.
The movie was filmed in Guadalupe in 1923.
Excavating artifacts is a costly and rare occurrence. Each time crews dig, it costs about $150,000. There have been three times crews have excavated different pieces in 2012, 2014 and 2017.
There will be “toe-tapping” melodies by the Tipsy Gypsies in a 1920’s theme soiree with cocktails, local breweries and wineries, and a live auction.
Movie fans and history buffs got a glimpse of a rare Hollywood relic Saturday at the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center: a giant sphinx head.
Archeologists excavated the artifacts from the sands of the Guadalupe Nipomo Dunes, which encompass an 18-mile stretch of coastline in southern San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara counties, in October and November 2017.
Among the treasures unearthed was a 10-foot-tall piece of a plaster sphinx featured in The Ten Commandments.
The Egyptian-style set of DeMille’s 1923 movie, designed by Art Deco designer Paul Iribe, featured 21 five-ton sphinxes, four 35-foot-tall statues of Ramses II and temple gates that stood more than 12 stories tall and 800 feet wide.
For more than 90 years, the set for Cecil B. DeMille’s silent film “The Ten Commandments” has been buried in the shifting sands of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes.
Archeologists have been slowly unearthing the set for years, and now the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center is ready to present their latest findings..
The nonprofit organization will unveil a giant, terracotta-colored sphinx head and other treasures at the Sphinx and Drinks gala, auction and artifact debut on July 21.
One of the Squire Foundation’s Artists in Residence, Ruben Espinoza, will soon begin working to install a new temporary mural on the side of the former Far Western Tavern building.
The mural will be the result of a collaborative effort between Santa Barbara’s Squire Foundation Artist in Residence Program and the Dunes Center in Guadalupe with the goal of sharing public art pieces that bring the community together.
Join the Dunes Center on Sunday, June 24th as it hosts a public event to celebrate local art with the unveiling of the new mural.
The painting, designed and installed by Ruben Espinoza, will be representative of the dynamic community of Guadalupe.
Ruben Espinoza is a local artist born and raised in Santa Maria and currently an Artist in Residence with the Squire Foundation. Espinoza’s work can be found around the Central Coast and Southern California and he is known for his installations that facilitate public engagement.