1930s Hollywood ‘sphinx’ uncovered in California

A sphinx is hauled by slaves in a scene from Cecil B DeMille’s 1923 silent version of The Ten Commandments. (Photo courtesy: AP)

Archaeologists have uncovered California’s very own long-lost sphinx buried beneath the sand dunes in the U.S. state, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The American sphinx is one of the 21 plaster copies of the Egyptian original built in 1932 for legendary filmmaker Cecile B Mille’s black and white classic, The Ten Commandments.

After serving their purpose, the giant sphinxes, along with a temple, were abandoned on the Guadalupe-Nipomo dunes.

The nearby Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center raised $120,000 to help excavate the made-for-Hollywood ruins, the U.S. daily reported.

Archeologists uncovering the remains of the sphinx at Guadalupe Dunes in California. (Photo courtesy: AP)

Archeologists uncovering the remains of the sphinx at Guadalupe Dunes in California. (Photo courtesy: AP)

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of site,” Colleen Hamilton, a senior historical archaeologist with Applied Earth Works and project director for the excavation, said.

“I’ve worked on sites all over the country, and I think this one could only happen in California.”

When digging began in 2012 one sphinx was found but the group ran out of money to continue. Parts of the first sphinx are now on display the Dunes Center.

When they resumed digging, the archaeologists found that the wind had moved the sand exposing the structure and damaging the plaster beyond repair. The wind had also revealed a part of the foot and leg of another Sphinx, the Times reported.

“It was a really pleasant surprise when we found out it was almost a full sphinx,” Doug Jenzen, executive director of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center, said.

The second sphinx missed most of its face but archeologists are looking for a body that is intact to match the head they found earlier.

A farming community near the site had left the structures untouched for decades out of respect, Shirley Boydstun, 86, a member of the Rancho de Guadalupe Historical Society, said.

“The old-timers have always known it was out there,” she said.


Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45