October 16, 2011

Red tape strangles "lost city" excavation

A project to excavate a small portion of a 1923 silent-movie set buried in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes — already derailed Sept. 30 by a Santa Barbara County permit snafu — will not happen this year even with an expedited permit process.

That’s the assessment offered Friday by filmmaker Peter Brosnan and the project’s lead archeologist, John Parker.

And Brosnan, who has spent nearly 30 years securing funding for the project, said it may not happen at all.

“We had a very well-planned project, which was utterly derailed at the last minute,” said Brosnan. “We’re going to have to do a very thorough assessment of all the bits and pieces, and see how the permit process goes. It’s way too early, and our heads are still spinning, to make a prediction.”

The excavation, which would involve about 50 cubic yards of sand, was approved in January by county planners, and was supposed to have started last week.

Full story here.

Posted by David on October 16, 2011 6:21 PM


That's really an odd story. First, the kind of meta-archaeology of digging up a film set as an adventure movie, and then the immovability of the bureaucracy.

I have an acquaintance who is a contract/rescue archaeologist (hey - he'd like to be excavating European arrival horizon sites in the Caribbean, but this repays the student loans!) whose latest job is a factory in Milwaukee to decide where to put it on the historical site / historical preservation / oh just turn it into condos scale.

Posted by: Michael Tinkler on October 26, 2011 7:18 AM
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