Lost City of Demille


I’ve been a part of the excavation and partial reconstruction of the enormous plaster sphinxes from the 1923, Cecil B. DeMille, Ten Commandments, on display in at the Dunes Center Museum. When the plaster pieces came out of the sand dunes, they were very fragile and damp. After they had time to dry out, the pieces are arranged together for exhibition. Using conservation approved adhesives, I attached the broken pieces for and impressive display.

In 1923, pioneer filmmaker, Cecil. B. DeMille, built the largest set in movie history in the dunes near Guadalupe, CA, for his silent epic, The Ten Commandments. It was called “The City of the Pharaoh.” After filming was complete, DeMille ordered that the entire set be dismantled… and secretly buried in the dunes. And there it lay, forgotten, for the next 60 years and it still sits there, buried in the sand, known as the “Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille.”

At the Dunes Center, in Guadalupe, CA, they have a unique and fascinating exhibit featuring a variety of artifacts from the both the set and the people who were working on the production. They feature a short film on the recovery effort of the set, the people involved in that process and have information, including a booklet focused on the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes film history.

Visit the Guadalupe Dunes Center website: www.dunescenter.org

Display at the Dunes Center, Guadalupe, CA
Paw in the sand dunes.
Paw during reconstruction
Paw after reconstruction

Movie still from Ten Commandments, 1923