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The strange tale of the lost California sphinx

i Jan 12th 3 by Dunes Center

screen-shot-2017-11-22-at-3-56-19-pmAfter nearly a century, the shifting red dunes of California’s Central Coast are giving up their final secrets. For 10 days in November, archaeologists used shovels, horsehair brushes, and gallons of quick-hardening foam to unearth and remove a nearly complete Egyptian sphinx from the sands of Guadalupe, CA.

Rather than the North African limestone that gives the Great Sphinx of Giza its form, however, the Cali sphinx is constructed of plaster.

To continue reading this article by Quartzy click here.

Archaeologists unearth ‘sphinx’ in California sand dunes

i Jan 12th 3 by Dunes Center

Ten Commandments Buried SphinxGUADALUPE  — Archaeologists working in sand dunes on the central California coast have dug up an intact plaster sphinx that was part of an Egyptian movie set built more than 90 years ago for Cecil B. DeMille’s epic “The Ten Commandments.”

The 300-pound sphinx is the second recovered from the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes.

Dunes Center Executive Director Doug Jenzen tells Santa Barbara news station KEYT-TV that it’s unlike other items found on previous digs because most of it is preserved with the original paint intact.

The set of the 1923 movie included more than 20 sphinxes. After filming, DeMille ordered everything buried in the dunes 175 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

They lay undisturbed for decades before recovery efforts began. The newly recovered sphinx is expected to go on display at the dunes museum next summer.

To continue reading this article on Mercury News click here.

Second sphinx from ‘Ten Commandments’ set discovered in Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes

i Jan 12th 3 by Dunes Center

ctm-120217-sphinx-2“The piece is unlike anything found on previous digs,” said Doug Jenzen, Executive Director of the Dunes Center. “The majority of it is preserved by sand with the original paint still intact.  This is significant and shows that we’re still learning unexpected facets to film historical movie production such as the fact that objects in black and white films were actually painted extremely intense colors.”

DeMille, known for his epic films and cinematic showmanship, ordered the construction of a lavish Egyptian set for his 1923 silent movie ”The Ten Commandments.”

The set in Santa Barbara County would go on to include pharaohs, sphinxes, and colossal temple gates for the beloved biblical epic. In all, 21 sphinxes graced the immense movie set. Only a fraction of the 12-stories-high 800-feet-wide set has been recovered.

Many believe the removal of the set after filming was too expensive and too valuable to leave behind for rival filmmakers to poach, so DeMille had it buried beneath the dunes.

Fortunately, archaeologists say the sand allows for drainage, which helps support the buried structures. Otherwise, Jenzen said, the set pieces would “turn to mush.”

To continue reading this article from Fox KKFX click here.

Archaeologists unearth plaster sphinx from “The Ten Commandments” at Guadalupe Dunes

i Jan 12th 3 by Dunes Center

5a1cd62d1bbd2.imageA rare chance to turn back time and unearth pieces of history occurred over the past two weeks near Guadalupe.

Ninety-four years ago, the famous “The Ten Commandments” movie set was buried in the sand in Santa Barbara County. Now, archaeologists are digging up Director Cecil B. DeMille’s set and bringing it back to life for enjoyment and educational purposes.

The Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center says it’s the only set left from that time period and is a gem of the Central Coast.

Over the past two weeks, archaeologists have been working to unearth portions of the set that were buried in the sand. They’ve uncovered a plaster sphinx face that they say is in great condition.

The 1923 movie set recreated the biblical story of Exodus, paired with a modern story of two brothers and their views of the Ten Commandments.

“There were about 3,500 staff people, extras, and actors who worked on this film, so a small industry town popped up here in the dunes,” said Doug Jenzen, Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center Executive Director.

The movie was a box office hit.

“The original movie set has 12-story tall buildings, lined with 21 sphinxes, so what we are attempting to do is excavate one of the sphinxes,” Jenzen said.

Archaeologists say it’s an incredibly methodical process dealing with plaster.

“It’s a really fragile medium, you have to excavate it really slowly, let it dry and then continue and do that in gradual steps,” said Ryan Wendel, the site’s Historical Archaeologist Field Supervisor. “So the Sphinx was believed to be pushed on its side with its left shoulder to be sticking up, so day one and day two we removed the left shoulder.”

To continue reading this article by KSBY click here.

300-pound plaster sphinx head: Archaeologists unearth new movie-history artifact at Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes

i Jan 12th 3 by Dunes Center

5a1cd62d1bbd2.imageThe sands of time that make up the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes recently gave up a new visage of the region’s connection to the Golden Age of moviemaking — a 300-pound plaster sphinx head.

In the early 1920s, legendary film director Cecil B. DeMille and movie production crews descended on the sand dunes west of Guadalupe to create a large Egyptian-themed set for DeMille’s movie, “The Ten Commandments.”

When filming was done, according to local legend, it was too expensive to move and too valuable to leave for rival filmmakers to plunder, so DeMille buried it.

During a recent archaeological dig, which began Oct. 23 and wrapped up Nov. 4, researchers discovered the head of a 300-pound plaster sphinx that was part of the 94-year-old movie set.

“The piece is unlike anything found on previous digs,” said Doug Jenzen, executive director of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center.

What makes the recent find significant is its size and how well-preserved researchers found it.

To continue reading this article by the Santa Maria times click here.

 

Sphinx From ‘Ten Commandments’ Movie Set Unearthed in California

i Jan 12th 3 by Dunes Center

sphinx-movie-set-excavation-california+(6)Archaeologists working in sand dunes on the central California coast have dug up an intact plaster sphinx that was part of an Egyptian movie set built more than 90 years ago for filming of Cecil B. DeMille’s 1923 epic “The Ten Commandments.”

The 300-pound sphinx is the second recovered from the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes.

Dunes Center Executive Director Doug Jenzen tells KEYT-TV it’s unlike other items found on previous digs because most of it is preserved with the original paint intact.

“The original movie set has 12-story tall buildings, lined with 21 sphinxes, so what we are attempting to do is excavate one of the sphinxes,” Jenzen told NBC affiliate KSBY.

One piece measured in at 10 feet tall and 15 feet long, KSBY reported. Dunes Center staff believe any other sphinxes left in the sand have fully disintegrated.

After the filming, DeMille ordered everything buried in the dunes 175 miles northwest of Los Angeles. They lay undisturbed for decades before recovery efforts began.

The newly recovered sphinx is expected to go on display at the dunes museum next summer.

 

To continue reading this article by NBC click here.

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