The solar alignments of Angkorian temples

A recently-published archaeoastronomy paper discusses the direct connection between the orientation of Angkorian temples with rising and setting of the sun during the equinoxes, but more importantly that the slight deviation along the east-west orientation of most of the temples were in face deliberate.

Angkor Wat. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20160425
Angkor Wat. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20160425

Tech used to prove Angkor’s link to sun
Phnom Penh Post, 25 April 2016

An Italian professor has set about the task of verifying with angles and axes what has long been theorised about Cambodia’s iconic Angkor Wat – that the temples took their cues from the sky.

Giulio Magli, professor of archaeoastronomy at Politecnico di Milano, used modern technology to test age-old thought in a bid to prove the clear orientation of buildings to the west was “connected with the temple’s symbolism and the management of power by the Khmer kings”.

“I only believe in what I can measure,” Magli told the Post, explaining his motivation to map precisely the orientation of the temples.

Full story here; access the paper here.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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