- "Something came here, Brody. Something that offers us a glorious new universe of understanding. All that and more is locked behind that door."
- ―Friedrich von Hassell[src]
The Tomb of the Gods was a location sought by Indiana Jones and Marcus Brody as well as Friedrich von Hassell and his Nazi agents in 1936. It was located along the northern coast of Siberia, north of the Popigai Crater.
The Tomb of the Gods was a colossal gatehouse in a giant underground cavern, built by non-humans in the time before recorded history. A large subterranean passage led to the site, which eventually was overgrown with a plant-like substance that emitted heat. The structure was several stories tall, with a massive main entrance surrounded by giant stone tentacles. Inside the entryway was a giant antechamber, with a map of the stars on the ceiling, hundreds of feet above the floor. The antechamber also held the monumental door leading into the building, and had walls with the tentacle motif and small green nodules. The door had an inset spot for the key.
Inside the door was a large circular green smooth-walled pit leading down into the earth.
Discovery in the 1930's
Finding and entering the tomb required the key, which was discovered and broken into three pieces in 1931. The key also served as a map showing the location of the site, which led from the Arctic Ocean through the icy lands of northern Siberia.
Sometime after the discovery of the key, its three discoverers, Francis Beresford-Hope, Henrik Mellberg, and Marwell O'Brien, led a group of twelve others to find the Tomb of the Gods. Only the three of them survived the trip, and according to Alex Beresford-Hope, the three of them lost their sanity. Knowing that the Tomb of the Gods was not meant to be found, they divided up the key, and separated to different parts of the earth.
In 1936, two competing expeditions raced toward the site: the Ahnenerbe team, led by von Hassell and bringing the key and their captive, Alex Beresford-Hope; and Indiana Jones, accompanied by Janice Le Roi and Marcus Brody. Racing across the Siberian ice, the teams fought each other, and the elements, when the dogsled of both teams fell through the ice into a chasm, which led down to the passageway leading to the Tomb. Several Nazi men were killed in the fall, but von Hassell regrouped with his surviving men, took Brody prisoner, and headed toward the Tomb. Le Roi found Jones and took him to an overlook of the mammoth underground chamber. As Jones took stock of Brody's situation, he had to have Le Roi point out what was captivating Brody, von Hassell and the other men: the giant green building.
Von Hassell's group entered the antechamber, marveling at the star charts, while Jones and Le Roi slipped in behind them. The Nazi agent theorized that the Tomb builders were travelers from space, and had come with something of power, that could be harnessed by the Nazi regime. Knowing that Beresford-Hope might know more about what lay behind the door, von Hassell ordered Bereseford-Hope to use the key to open the door into the main chamber. Meanwhile, one of von Hassell's men started hearing voices from the round nodules in the walls, commanding him to kill and then open the door. Alex Beresford-Hope bravely refused to open the door, vowing to keep his father's promise to protect the secret. Hiding behind some rubble, Le Roi was concerned for Beresford-Hope's safety, but Jones counted on Beresford-Hope eventually would give into his own curiosity and open the door. Recognizing Beresford-Hope's resolve, von Hassell withdrew his pistol, then slashed at the young man with the blade in his sleeve. With Beresford-Hope dead, von Hassell gave the task of opening the door to a terrified Brody. They were interrupted by three of von Hassell's men, with their guns drawn, taken over by the voices they had heard, and displaying green eyes and skin growths. Opening fire, they gunned down many of the other men.
Before Brody could get shot by a possessed Ahnenerbe agent, Jones swung in on a vine, and kicked the blond man out, then whipped the bald gunman to pull him in for a punch to the jaw. As Jones helped the dynamite-toting Brody stand up, the third gunman faced them, but was shot down by Le Roi. Von Hassell had inserted the key into the door, and the massive portal began to open with a thunderous rumble. Seizing Brody's bag of dynamite, Jones followed von Hassell into the chamber and saw the pit leading down into the earth. Von Hassell revealed that he had previously sent the coordinates of the site back to Nazi Germany from the ship, and swung his blade at Jones. Claiming that this new discovery would be world-changing, von Hassell seized Jones, trying to force him to admit that he too wanted the knowledge within. Jones kneed von Hassell in the groin, and admitted his interest, but his priority had changed - as von Hassell had killed Beresford-Hope. Dropping the Nazi into the pit, Jones then lit the satchel of dynamite and threw it into the pit. As von Hassell slid down into the hole, Jones ran out of the chamber, grabbed Brody and Le Roi, and fled from the structure back to the cavern. The explosion killed von Hassell, and brought the massive building down on itself. Watching the tentacle-covered edifice collapse, Brody told Jones that he had done the right thing. With Le Roi impressed as well, though disappointed in the lack of treasure, Jones reminded her that he was a professor, not a treasure hunter, and that it was time to head out.
Behind the scenes
- The Tomb of the Gods concept shows similarities to places mentioned in H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos, in particular At the Mountains of Madness in which an expedition to the antarctic discovers a city constructed and previously inhabited by non human intelligences that existed before the rise of mankind.
- That several of the Ahnenerbe expedition members are taken over and controlled by a mysterious intelligence that still 'exists' in the tomb, undergoing physical changes also shares similarities with plot elements from the Cthulhu mythos.