Last chance for Dunes Center to dig up film history

Apr 14, 2014

Buried beneath the sand of the Guadalupe-Nipomo dunes are artifacts from the set of Cecil B. DeMille's 1923 film "The Ten Commandments."

DeMille buried his set 91 years ago but since then, the shifting sands have exposed pieces of the set. The Dunes Center of Guadalupe has discovered many pieces of DeMille’s set over the years, but they are running out of time to find more artifacts.

In a 2012 excavation, the Center found the head of a sphinx statue. Dunes Center Executive Director Doug Jenzen says now they would like to find the rest the statue before the salty ocean air destroys what remains of the fragile plaster-of-Paris statues.

"What we're hoping to do is excavate the rest of an entire sphinx before they are completely destroyed by the elements and this actually might be the last chance that we get,” Jenzen said of the project.

In total, it's a $120,000 project and the Dunes Center is hoping to raise the final $9,000 needed by the end of April. Santa Barbara County gave $80,000 to the excavation project through an oil mitigation fund. However, that money will not be disbursed until the Dunes Center has confirmed that they have raised the remaining $40,000.

Once the funds are secured, Jenzen says they will start digging.