"They called him The Gilded Man. His lust for gold was legendary."
Indiana Jones[src]

Francisco de Orellana was a Spanish Conquistador.


Francisco de Orellana was born in Trujillo, Spain in 1511.[1]

Obsessed with finding gold to the point that he was known as the "Gilded Man", Francisco de Orellana led an expedition in 1546 to find Akator, which they knew as El Dorado. He succeeded in the discovery, finding a Crystal Skull along with other treasures. During the trip back he started to hear a voice inside his head compelling him to return the Crystal Skull to the city which only got stronger the greater the distance he put between himself and Akator.[2]

However, his six companions refused to go as they were adamant that they sail home with their share of the loot. Orellana killed them all when they tried to take the Skull with them. He was deeply remorseful of the murders, but he was attacked by the guardians of a clifftop cemetery overlooking the Nazca Lines before he could begin his journey back to Akator. They carefully mummified the bodies of him and his companions in their armor, burying Orellana with a gold mask along with the Crystal Skull, in a grave near Nazca, Peru.[2]



A picture of Orellana in a book.

Due to his failure to return, history recorded Orellana as having vanished while looking for the city. According to the American archaeologist Indiana Jones, there were search efforts to find Orellana and his men but had no luck.[1]

Orellana's grave was eventually found around 1957 by Harold Oxley, who removed the Crystal Skull from Orellana's mummy but later returned it when he couldn't gain access to the Temple of Akator.[1]

Later that year, Indiana Jones and Mutt Williams handled Orellana's body while searching for Oxley's treasure and the pair recovered the skull. Jones was unsettled by the presence of the golden death mask, aware that Spaniards didn't wear them. He considered that the piece was among those that Orellana and his men had stolen from Akator.[1]

Behind the scenesEdit

While Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull doesn't elaborate, James Rollins' novelization of the film includes a prologue chapter with Francisco de Orellana as the protagonist, explaining how the explorer and the Crystal Skull of Akator ended up in the Chauchilla Cemetery.[2]

An idea considered for the film that ultimately went unused involved the ground in Orellana's grave coming apart, leaving Mutt Williams dangling over the cliffside with nothing but the explorer's centuries-old skeleton to cling on to. Concept art of the scene was included in The Complete Making of Indiana Jones.[3]

The Dark Horse comic book adaptation uses an alternate spelling: "Francesco de Orellana".[4]


Notes and referencesEdit

External linksEdit

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