Not a lifetime movie; NICH suing Indiana Jones
Dr. Jaime Awe, the Director of the Institute of Archaeology, is suing the makers of the 2008 Steven Spielberg film “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”. The claim, filed last Wednesday in the Illinois Federal Court, is described in the Hollywood Reporter as one of the most entertaining lawsuits of the year. Awe alleges that the movie’s plot was based on an actual crystal skull that was stolen from Belize eighty-eight years ago by F.A. Mitchell-Hedges and his adopted daughter, Anna while they explored the Lubantuun Maya ruin in the early 1920’s. The father/daughter treasure hunters returned to England with the skull and Anna regularly had it on exhibit after her father died in 1959. Awe is now suing Lucasfilm, the Walt Disney Company, and Paramount Pictures and demanding that the skull be returned, citing the 1928 “Antiquities Ordinance” which prohibited the removal of artifacts from Belize without government permission. Since the crystal skull was reportedly removed from the ruins illegally, Awe believes Belize is entitled to a share of the film’s profits, which was more than seven hundred and eighty million US dollars. Lucasfilm, according to Awe, never sought, nor was given permission to use the Mitchell-Hedges Skull or its likeness in the film. But an article on discoverynews.com says the lawsuit is not expected to go anywhere, since Anna’s story about finding the skull was a hoax. The report says that historical records show that F.A. Mitchell-Hedges purchased the skull from an antiquities collector named Sydney Burney in 1933 and he eventually sold it to pay off a debt. Anna reportedly bought back the skull and made up an adventurous story about finding it on her seventeenth birthday in the jungle ruins. According to Discovery News, there is also no record of the Mitchell-Hedges ever visiting Lubantuun or Belize.