The village of Tod is situated around an ancient mound (kôm), on the eastern bank of the Nile, approximately 20 kilometers (15 miles) south of Luxor. On the northern side of the kôm, Jean-François Champollion visited what was left of a high crypt, emerging from the temple that remained buried underneath the village. In 1934, Fernand Bisson de la Roque cleared the ruins of the first two halls, both from the Ptolemaic period: the first a hypostyle hall, and the other dominated by the high crypt. At the back, the far end of the temple revealed traces of a church, built directly on the limestone paving of the pharaonic sanctuary. The Ptolemaic eaves (avancée), made of sandstone, surround an ancient limestone wall, linked to this paving and carrying a lengthy historical inscription from Senwosret I.

Beneath the paving slabs lay blocks from previous construction phases of the temple, dating back to the reigns of Montuhotpe I and II and Amenemhet I. In the foundation sand, beneath a narrowed eave, were four copper chests, with the name of King Amenemhet II engraved on them. They were filled with lapis lazuli and silver, and included some gold objects. The lapis lazuli either remained uncut or consisted of fragments of beads or cylinder seals from the Near East, of various origins and dating back to the third and the beginning of the second millennium BCE. The silver came in flattened ingots, ingot chains and coiled cups. The origins of these cups are still disputed. The most consistent hypotheses identify these cups as Minoan or Syrian. A similar cup was discovered in a Mycenaean tomb; but this isolated find, perhaps more ancient than the tomb from which it came, does not call into question the date of burial of the treasure, under Amenemhet II.

The excavations carried out by the Musée du Louvre between 1981 and 1991 focused on the temple's surroundings. They revealed a terrace built at the beginning of the Middle Kingdom, which had private chapels that survived until the New Kingdom. There was no western entrance until the dromos was created in the third century BCE, likely under Ptolemy IV, at the same time as construction of the two Ptolemaic halls was undertaken, to replace halls dating back to the time of Thutmose III. The dromos was never completed, and the platform overlooking a pier was redesigned in the second or first century BCE, with the construction of a monumental door, which also remained unfinished.

Before the Ptolemaic period, access to the temple was limited to the north, as indicated by the placement of a wayside bark chapel begun by Thutmose III, and completed by Amenhotpe II. Talatats, standard blocks used in buildings during Amenhotpe IV's reign, were most likely brought over from Karnak, and possibly were used to complete the upper sections of the temple at the end of the Ptolemaic period (decorations are attributed to Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II and Ptolemy XII Auletes), or even during the Roman period (the most recent reliefs are dated to Antonius Pius). North of the two Ptolemaic halls a lake was dug, either while or shortly after the halls were built. To the south, the kôm indicates different stages of urban growth, and not of some other temple.


  • Barbotin, C., and J.-J. Clère. “L'inscription de Sésostris Ier à Tôd.” Bulletin de l'Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale 91 (1991), 1–32.
  • Bisson de la Rocque, F. Tod. Fouilles de l'Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale, 17. Cairo, 1937.
  • Bisson de la Rocque, F. Catalogue général des Antiquités égyptiennes du Musée du Caire, Trésor de Tôd. Cairo, 1950.
  • Bisson de la Rocque, F., “Georges Contenau, and Fernand Chapouthier.” Le Trésor de Tôd, Cairo, 1953.
  • Pierrat, G., et al. “Fouilles du Musée du Louvre à Tôd,” 1988–1991. Cahiers de Karnak 10: 405–503.

Geneviève Pierrat-Bonnefois