With Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harrison Ford helped birth one of Hollywood's most beloved characters. Even if Indiana Jones is a horrible archeologist (technically speaking), he never fails to get the job done, and he seems to always return home with some fantastic treasure.
In an eternal quest to locate artifacts that "belong in a museum," Indy travels all over the world, fights off villainous cult leaders, falls in love (several times), and reconnects with his studious, scholarly father, who's played by Sean Connery. Over the course of four films and three decades, he's recovered numerous artifacts, namely the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail, the Crystal Skull, and the Cross of Coronado. But he's found plenty of other cool treasures, too, and his lesser discoveries are still pretty remarkable by real-life standards.
In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones recovers the Ark of the Covenant, a chest that - according to ancient Hebrews - carries the original Ten Commandments. Jones fights to recover the Ark of the Covenant before his enemies do, as he fears they'll use its immense powers to conquer the world.
At one point, museum curator Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) describes the arc, saying, "The Bible speaks of the Ark leveling mountains and laying waste to entire regions. An army which carries the Ark before it is invincible."
After seeing Donovan (Julian Glover) choose the False Grail, Indiana Jones chooses the most humble chalice he can find. Thankfully, the third Indiana Jones film attests the Holy Grail is really the cup of a humble carpenter. The Grail provides powers such as eternal life and bodily healing, which Jones uses to heal his father, Henry (Sean Connery). Eternal life, however, only persists until the drinker crosses the Great Seal of the Temple.
The Holy Grail is believed to be the cup Jesus used during the Last Supper and the cup that caught his blood during his end.
According to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, three brothers - all knights of the First Crusade - left markers that reveal the location of the Holy Grail, one of which is the Grail Tablet. This marker is made of sandstone and is missing its top section.
Jones translates the broken Grail Tablet's text to read:
[Whoever] drinks the water I shall give him, says the Lord, will have a spring inside him welling up for eternal life. Let them bring me to your holy mountain in the place where you dwell. Across the desert and through the mountains to the Canyon of the Crescent Moon, to the temple where the cup that holds the blood of Jesus Christ resides forever.
In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones tracks down Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) who is in possession of the Headpiece to the Staff of Ra, a crucial key to the search for the Ark of the Covenant. While his enemies dig in the wrong location, Jones is able to locate the Well of Souls, attach the Headpiece of the Staff of Ra, and locate the Ark's true burial site. Of course, his adversaries find him and discover the truth.