"Take back one kadam to honor the Hebrew God, whose Ark this is."―Inscription on the Headpiece, as translated by Imam[src]
The Headpiece to the Staff of Ra was a much sought-after medallion which was originally designed as a means to reveal the location of the Ark of the Covenant. The headpiece was designed to be placed atop the Staff of Ra and used in the Map Room at Tanis to reveal the location of the Well of the Souls, the resting place of the Ark.
The actual Staff of Ra, in and of itself just a simple a shaft of wood, was apparently long lost to history, but the headpiece contained instructions on how high to make a substitute staff. The instructions written on the headpiece stated that the staff should be six kadams high. However, the other side of the headpiece held specific instructions to take back one kadam to honor the Hebrew God.
In 1934, Marion was robbed of the headpiece by a mercenary. She chased the thief to Tibet and teamed up with a member of the Adventure Society she met along the way. Together they tracked the medallion to a monastery where the thief believed the artifact was the key to treasure there.
The headpiece was momentarily in the possession of Nazi Gestapo agent Toht, during a fight at Ravenwood's bar. However, the headpiece had become extraordinarily hot having fallen into the fireplace, and the medallion scarred Toht's hand, leaving the imprint of the markings on his palm that allowed French archaeologist René Belloq to create his own headpiece for the Nazis to locate the Ark. However, their headpiece lacked the markings on the other side, which led Indiana and Sallah to discover that "they're digging in the wrong place."
Indiana, using the information on the headpiece, was able to locate the Well of Souls and, along with Sallah, discovered the Ark (only to have it taken from them by Belloq and the Nazis).
Behind the scenesEdit
The headpiece prop was created for the Raiders art department by sculptor and miniaturist Barry Minot.
Despite being implied in the movie to be Egyptian, the writing around the edges appears to actually be Hebrew block letters. However, upon closer inspection, the script is actually revealed to be the Phoenician alphabet, the first widely used non-cuneiform Semitic abjad.
The headpiece included a dire warning to not disturb the Ark of the Covenant, giving Indy the knowledge needed to survive the Ark's power later, though this warning was either forgotten or simply ignored by Belloq and the other Nazis present. In the novelization, the headpiece's warning is expanded on, to include not touching the Ark, which explains a moment later when the Ark is discovered; Indy stops Sallah from lifting the Ark out with his bare hands and thus wooden poles are used.
- Indiana Jones Adventure World
- Raiders of the Lost Ark novel (First appearance)
- Raiders of the Lost Ark
- Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures
- LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
- LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures
- LEGO Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Brick
- LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues