The mysterious 300lb find was carefully excavated by field workers, and was described by investigators as “unlike anything found on previous digs”.
However the shock find was not commissioned by the Egyptian Pharaoh Khafre – but the film director Cecil B. DeMille.
The plaster cast head was part of the set of the 1923 epic ‘The Ten Commandments’ – and was one of many pieces buried in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes because it would have been too expensive to move and too valuable to leave to other filmmakers.
Despite being filmed in black and white, the sphinx itself was painted in vibrant colours before its silver screen debut.
The mysterious sphinx was discovered in the deserts of California
Executive Director of the Dunes Centre Doug Jenzen said: “The piece is unlike anything found on previous digs.
“The majority of it is preserved by sand with the original paint still intact.
“This is significant and shows that we’re still learning unexpected facets to film historical movie production such as the fact that objects in black and white films were actually painted extremely intense colours.”
The discovery is just the start for excavators, who have only unearthed a small part of the colossal set for the film.
Twenty-one sphinxes were built for the film
Director Peter Bronson set out with a group of young filmmakers to find the not-so-ancient ruins in the 1980s, with excavations beginning more than 30 years later.
Twenty-one sphinxes were built for the film, leaving plenty more for treasure hunters to find.
It comes after claims there may be another sphinx, similar to the sculpture in Giza, out in the Western Desert, according to an historian and Egyptologist.
The discovery was made by Gerry Cannon during his research in the country’s Western Desert, west of Faiyum, as he was heading towards the Baharian Oasis.
The plaster cast head was part of the set of the 1923 epic ‘The Ten Commandments’
Mr Cannon, who was travelling with his friend and driver Abdul at the reported time of discovery, declined to reveal the exact location of the find for security reasons.
Mr Cannon told Express.co.uk: “We suddenly passed an unusual sight of a huge figure that seemed to be carved on a large mound.
“According to our vehicles tire tracks it didn’t seem as though any other vehicle had been there. Apparently, no one else had ever documented it.
“On closer inspection and to our astonishment the figure certainly resembled the Giza Plateau’s sphinx.
The sphinx itself was painted in vibrant colours before its silver screen debut
“The eroded figure looked as though it had two paws and a long flat topped body.
“According to Abdul’s compass its face faced east, just like the sphinx.”
While the figure has clearly been eroded over time, there appears to be two paws below the figure’s face on the left and also what appears to be a headdress.
Malcom Hutton, Mr Cannon’s co-author of the forthcoming book ‘The Giza Plateau Secrets and a Second Sphinx Revealed’, said the famous Giza Sphinx and the one recently discovered bore remarkable similarities.
Excavators have only unearthed a small part of the colossal set for the film
Mr Hutton said: “The newsphinx has the typical long back of the Giza sphinx and of the same length and same proportions and a head at one end looking as does the other, towards the rising sun in the east.
“We could easily dismiss this as being something quite natural formed by many thousands of years of hurricane blasting sand erosion if it weren’t for the double paws placed in exactly the same position just where they should be below and to the forefront of the mystical head which soars above the desert floor.
“It would have been visible to travellers making their way to the Nile from a great distance despite the high forest tops that filled each valley in an epoch when all of north Africa flourished with green and life of every species.”