Sphinx head from ‘The Ten Commandments’ movie unearthed in California

Archaeologists have unearthed in sand dunes along the central California coast a large and intact sphinx head, weighing a whopping 300 pounds, that was used as a prop in the 1923 silent film “The Ten Commandments” that preceded the 1956 version starring Charleton Heston – both of which were directed by Cecil B. DeMille. This head, recovered last week, is part of one of the 21 sphinxes buried in the desert after filming 94 years ago. The set of the 1923 film was massive, standing 12 stories high and 800 feet wide; it took more than 1,500 workers to build. The sphinx heads were buried in the sand dunes because they were too heavy to transport. 

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Gigantic deep terra-cotta-colored head that was found recently during an excavation of the buried movie set from the 1923 Cecil B. DeMille epic film “The Ten Commandments,” in Guadalupe, California. By Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center via AP

But locating the set has been a decades-long mission for some as it was buried at an unmarked location. In 1990, the first sphinx head was discovered in Guadalupe, California by Peter Brosnan. Since then many other items have been found in the area.

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Front of an uncovered sphinx featuring ornate detail, including a detailed necklace in Guadalupe, California. By Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center via AP

There was no such thing as over the top for Cecil B. DeMille. That generation of filmmakers believed in the physicality of movies. If they were going to do the Civil War, they did the Civil War.

So if DeMille is going to recreate ancient Egypt, he builds it on the same scale as ancient Egypt was built.

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