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"Knowledge was their treasure."
Indiana Jones[src]
Ugha warriors

Ugha warriors at Akator.

The Ugha were an ancient tribe that lived in the western Amazon in the city of Akator. Building a society six to eight thousand years ago, the Ugha received thirteen visitors from above, whom they worshipped as gods. These gods taught them irrigation, animal domestication and technology with which the Ugha, with the help of their deities, established the city of Akator.


The Ugha people were one of the oldest cultures,[1] possibly dating as far back as the Neolithic[2] or were even contemporaneous with the Mesolithic.[1][3] Sun worshippers like the Egyptians, the ancient Ugha inhabited an area of the Amazon in South America near the Sono River. At the base of the lowest of the Sono's three waterfalls, the Ugha used a concealed cave in which they recorded their history in pictorial form,[4] memorializing important moments in their lives.[2]

Around 5000 BC, thirteen interdimensional beings of unearthly origin arrived on the planet from the "space between spaces" in their flying, saucer-shaped craft. They chose to contact the sun worshipping Ugha who devoted themselves to the humanoid visitors from the skies, treating them like gods and, in turn, the beings imparted their knowledge upon the Ugha.[4]

The visitors taught them farming, irrigation,[4] architecture, metallurgy and astronomy,[2] out of which grew a great city. Built upon the Ugha gods' craft in a crater accessed by the Ughas' cave network,[4] it may have been the first city, and its construction influenced the development of other pre-Columbian New World civilizations including the Inca of Peru who called the Ugha city "Akator".[5]

Akator thrived,[1] boasting aqueducts and paved roads, and technology of a kind that would be unrivalled for millennia.[4] The thirteen interdimensional beings were collectors who somehow acquired pieces of archaeological interest from different worldwide cultures over thousands of years which were stored outside the gods' throne room within a temple at the center of the city.[6]

The Ugha valued knowledge, to the extent that the word for "treasure" in their language meant precisely that.[4] However, during Pizzaro's conquest of Peru (15321534) as part of the Spanish pursuit of land and wealth, the conquistadors learned of Akator.[5][7] They misinterpreted the Ughas' treasure and believed that the Amazon was concealing "El Dorado", an entire city built out of solid gold.[4]

With Pizzaro had come a man named Francisco de Orellana, a conquistador whose lust for gold would become the stuff of legends. Orellana was the first European to navigate the length of the Amazon River, into which ran the Sono. Afterwards, he returned to the jungle in search of the Ugha city.[3]


Ugha representation of Orellana's men capturing the Crystal Skull.

In 1546, Orellana successfully led an expedition to Akator.[4] The conquistadors looted the city and the Ugha could do little to stop them. It was a devastating defeat as Ugha bolas and spears were no match for Orellana's muskets.[3] Ugha art would depict the encounter with a painting of figures fleeing a village, with bodies piled high, impaled on spikes or hanging from rope, while one anguished woman held a baby to the heavens as blood poured down her arms.[2] The conquerors even managed to decapitate one of the thirteen Ugha gods, taking with them its crystal skull.[1]

Physically separate but sharing a collective consciousness,[4] the interdimensional beings fell into a state of decay.[3] Dying but not quite reaching death,[3][8] their thirteen crystalline skeletons sat in a circle in their throne room awaiting the return of the missing skull.[4]

Towards the end of the 20th century, Akator had fallen into ruin and the Ugha were thought to have died out.[1]

However, around 1957 archaeologist Professor Harold Oxley found Akator and brought with him the crystal skull which had been buried with Orellana, who was thought to have disappeared in search of his city of gold, in Nazca. Although the Ugha approached Oxley, they were kept at bay by the sight of the skull. Oxley attempted to return the skull to the Temple of Akator but he was unable to bypass the locking mechanism that kept the structure sealed so he journeyed to Peru once again, placing the skull back with Orellana's body to keep it safe from Soviet soldiers that he knew had designs on the artifact.[4]

Later that year, after figuring out the key to opening the temple, Oxley revisited Akator with the skull. Accompanied by Indiana Jones, Mutt Williams, Marion Ravenwood, and the duplicitious George "Mac" McHale, Oxley was attacked by Ugha warriors hiding in the cave tunnel that connected the lost city to the outside world. Chasing the intruders down the steps towards Akator, the Ugha took down and captured the five intruders. When they saw that Oxley had the crystal skull in his possession, the Ugha retreated and allowed the team to climb the Temple of Akator, wary of approaching the temple themselves.[3]


Ugha warriors in the cave tunnels leading to Akator.

Soon after, led by a transceiver left behind by Mac, Soviet Colonel Doctor Irina Spalko and her men arrived at Akator. Although the Ugha were able to kill some of her soldiers, most of the city's guardians were gunned down while a few managed to escape back into the tunnels.[2] After Indiana Jones and his team returned the skull to the Ugha gods, the flying saucer was reactivated below the temple and began to take flight, toppling what little remained of the city of knowledge and altering the valley's structure to allow the waters of the neighboring river to flood into it, erasing the evidence of the interdimensional beings' presence.[4]

Society and culture[]

Ugha warriors wore paints on their torso, face, and limbs, and were dressed in simple loincloths. Many warriors kept their hair fixed in ponytail-like styles. Ugha warriors also used ritual scarring and earrings to mark their bodies. They used relatively primitive weapons such as bolas and spears.[4]

In the cave tunnel that connected the valley of Akator to the outside world, near a waterfall, the Ugha recorded their history in pictorial form, and developed secret hiding chambers from which to ambush trespassers.[4]

Notable Ugha[]

Behind the scenes[]

The Ugha appear in LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues where there are depicted as being led by an Ugha King, giving one possible answer as to how Akator is the kingdom of the Crystal Skull in the title of the fourth film.[9]



Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull comic
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull novel
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull junior novel
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  5. 5.0 5.1 Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide
  6. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull notes the presence of pieces from a number of world cultures including Etruscan which, historically, existed in the 1st century BC. The film's novelization may take this even further with the presence of Viking remains (amongst others) at the site. The Vikings generally emerged in history towards the close of the 1st millennium AD.
  7. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull audio pack
  8. In both the junior and adult novelizations of the film, Indiana Jones infers that the Crystal Skull of Akator isn't dead.
  9. LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues