Originally Posted by JasonMa
Seems overly repetitive, considering that's roughly what the Ark is said to do, as Pale Horse notes above. Plus, it implies a return visit to either Europe, specifically Italy, or northern Africa.
To my mind, there are probably four main things that a new MacGuffin should not replicate from its predecessors, some of which overlap each other:
A) CULTURE of origin
B) Implied geography or SETTING
C) Resonating THEMES
D) Motivating POWERS
I'm actually least interested in the last of these, especially seeing as neither Raiders or Temple particularly cares about what the artifacts can do. The Ark in particular is many things to many people.
CULTURE and SETTING overlap as do THEMES and POWERS.
One might also add:
E) Physical FORM
The Ark is a big thing, can't be held in one hand. It holds other stuff. The Sankara Stones are 3 small things, with a possible 2 extra to be found; they do special things when brought together or when special words are said. The Grail holds liquid, and has some possible decoys surrounding it. The Skull is heavy but can be carried, it does things when it's uncovered.
None of the MacGuffins up to now have been wearable. None of them have contained information about other things, though the Ark was supposed to have, and the Skull possibly conveyed knowledge. None of them have been places or entities larger than a person, though both the Ark and Skull are found within lost cities. None of them have, in the strictest sense, been alive.