Matura podstawowa – czytanie, ćwiczenie 54

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In 1982, Peter Brosnan heard a story that seemed incredible: buried somewhere beneath sand
dunes* in California might lie the remains of an Egyptian city. According to his flatmate, a fellow New York University graduate, a massive Egyptian temple, twelve sphinxes and four statues of Ramses II were buried in the sands of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes. “One evening, he told me this crazy story and I was thrilled. We thought it was a great idea for a documentary film. We hoped to find the city, dig it up and interview people who might know anything about its past,” Brosnan recalls.

The lost metropolis isn’t a strange Egyptian settlement, but a massive film set built in 1923 for Cecil DeMille’s silent film The Ten Commandments. For this project DeMille needed a huge Egyptian city in the desert. Before the age of computer-generated special effects, if you wanted a city in the desert, you had to build it. Before actors could start work, about 1500 workmen spent six weeks creating the set and when the filming ended, there wasn’t enough money to take it apart. DeMille did not want to leave it standing because he was afraid that other filmmakers might use it in their films. So, he told the workmen to hide the city beneath the sand dunes.

To find the set, Brosnan partnered with an archaeologist, John Parker, in 1990. They decided to check the area with radar and they discovered that DeMille’s set was still there. Brosnan asked the local authorities for permission to explore the site and had to wait two years for their decision. And when he got the permit, he discovered that he didn’t have enough funds to carry on with the project and gave up.

However, twenty years later, after the Los Angeles Times published an article about the project, Brosnan got a call from a woman from Texas who was ready to sponsor the excavation. In 2012, Brosnan returned to the dunes and some fragments of the city were uncovered. About one third of the city was gone because the plaster used to create the set was extremely fragile. “It was like working with a chocolate rabbit,” Peter Brosnan said when the first sphinx was found, “anything we found could easily get damaged. After all, it was built to last three months during filming in 1923 – not a century.” Before being moved from the site, the sphinx had to be sprayed with strong glue and filled with stabilizing material. Scientists were afraid it might break into pieces when someone touched it. Luckily, it didn’t and visitors can currently see it in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center.
adapted from;
*dune – wydma

1. Peter Brosnan learned about the Egyptian city from
2. The director of The Ten Commandments
3. Why did Brosnan stop working on the project in the 1990s?
4. Which is TRUE about the sphinx they discovered?
5. Which is the best title for the text?