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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Early Twentieth-Century Movie Sphinx Uncovered in California

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

California movie sphinxGUADALUPE, CALIFORNIA—Live Science reports that a large portion of a brightly painted plaster sphinx from the set of The Ten Commandments has been found in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes. A total of 21 sphinxes had been created by French artist Paul Iribe for the 1923 movie, directed by Cecil B. DeMille. The bright paint was intended to help the sculptures stand out in the silent, black-and-white movie. DeMille had the giant, expensive set buried in the sand when the filming was completed in order to keep it from rival filmmakers. Previous excavations at the site starting in the 1990s uncovered Prohibition-era liquor bottles, makeup, and tobacco tins, in addition to pieces of the set. To read about some of these earlier discoveries, go to “Hollywood Exodus.”

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