Angkor Wat

Lotus Temple at the Intersection of Celestial Azimuths




Angkor Wat, Rong Chen, Jayavarman II, Suryavarman II, Khmer Empire, Phnom Kulen


Angkor Wat is one of the largest religious structures in the world. Much has been written about the site; what has not been explained, however, is why the structure was located where it is. In this paper it is suggested that Angkor Wat was intentionally situated at the intersection of two astronomically related lines of position – one to the summer solstice sunrise over the Rong Chen temple on Phnom Kulen, and the other to cardinal east or the equinox in alignment with a site known as Preah Khan of Kompong Svay. Political and cosmological implications of these findings are discussed. Supportive data showing how Rong Chen is likewise situated at intersecting lines of position is also presented. Importantly, the Rong Chen temple is where Jayavarman II – founder of the Khmer Empire in the ninth century AD – was declared universal ruler (chakravartin).


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Author Biography

William F Romain, Indiana University

William F. Romain, Ph.D. (University of Leicester, 2004) is an archaeologist specializing in archaeoastronomy and ancient religions. He is a Research Associate with the Indiana University, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, The Explorers Club, and licensed private pilot. Bill is a recipient of the Robert Converse award for outstanding contributions to Ohio archaeology and serves on the editorial board of the Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology. He is the author of three books about prehistoric Native American religion and dozens of published articles. He has conducted archaeoastronomic fieldwork in the United States, China, Inner Mongolia, Tibet, Burma (Myanmar), and Cambodia.


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How to Cite

Romain, W. F. (2022). Angkor Wat: Lotus Temple at the Intersection of Celestial Azimuths. Journal of Skyscape Archaeology, 8(1), 4–35.



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