Sphinx from 90-year-old film set unearthed in California

Brunilde Fioravanti
Dicembre 2, 2017

Now, archaeologists have unearthed part of one of the 21 sphinxes he left behind. And it wasn't carved by the ancient Egyptians, but molded by designers on the set of Cecil B. DeMille's 1923 biblical film The Ten Commandments.

Adjusting for inflation, The Ten Commandments is the seventh highest grossing film of all time-and the film set budget records, too, with DeMille spending a reported $13.2 million. Iribe's final product was the largest set design of its time, and included more than 20 sphinxes. DeMille ordered it to be buried so that rival filmmakers couldn't use it. Director Peter Brosnan set out to find the ruins in the 1980s, though excavation didn't begin until several years later.

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

Dunes Centre Executive Director Doug Jenzen told Santa Barbara news station KEYT-television that it is unlike other items found on previous digs because most of it is preserved with the original paint intact. The artifacts can be viewed at the Dunes Center museum in Guadalupe, where the latest sphinx head will go on display in summer, 2018.

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