Welcome to the world’s most fascinating archaeological mystery:

Welcome to the world’s most fascinating archaeological mystery:
Why do women dominate Angkor Wat, the largest ancient religious monument on Earth?
The 12th century Khmer temple of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia
The 12th century Khmer temple of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Source: http://www.devata.org/
In the 12th Century AD, the Khmer Empire ruled most of what is now Southeast Asia. As Europe struggled in the Dark Ages, King Suryavarman II built this massive edifice at the height of his empire’s glory between 1,116-1,150AD.
Devata in the Cruciform Gallery of Angkor Wat
Devata in the Cruciform Gallery of Angkor Wat
But within 200 years, the powerful Khmer civilization mysteriously collapsed. Theories of its downfall abound but nothing is definite. You see, aside from limited temple inscriptions no written records of the great Khmer Empire survived its demise. The “best” written account available is from the Chinese diplomat Zhou Daguan, who recorded his journey to Suvannabhum, the legendary Khmer “Land of Gold”, 150 years after Angkor Wat was completed.
Centuries passed and dense jungle swallowed  the magnificent Khmer temples and cities. Western scholars had never learned that the great Khmer race ever existed. But in the 19th Century, French explorers rediscovered the ruins, initiating 150 years of intense scholarship that continues today. Yet we believe that they have missed the most important keys to the puzzle, hidden in plain sight…
People worldwide instantly recognize Angkor Wat.

Few, however, realize that for nearly 1,000 years this massive temple has protected the most extraordinary royal portrait collection in the world: covering its walls 1,796 sacred Khmer women are realistically rendered in stone.
For 150 years, scholars have simply dismissed the women as ornaments “there to entertain the king in heaven” or to “decorate the bare limestone walls.”
Our growing body of  research indicates that these women served much more profound roles than mere decoration. For the first time, our investigation asks:
Who are the women of Angkor Wat?
Why are their images immortalized in the largest temples the Khmer civilization ever built?
What did these women mean to the Khmer rulers, priests and people?
How does the Cambodian dance tradition relate to the women of Angkor Wat?

Do the women of Angkor Wat embody information important to us in modern times?

Devata on the West Gopura of Angkor Wat
Devata on the West Gopura of Angkor Wat
Devata.org is seeking answers to these questions in a variety of ways. This website is an information clearinghouse for all who wish to participate in this adventure. Here are some key areas of inquiry:
Book News & Reviews: These articles feature the most promising authors and book reviews relating to this investigation and to Cambodian history.
Cambodian Dance: Since the dawn of recorded history, Cambodian royalty has nurtured a sacred female dance tradition passed down from teacher to teacher. Today’s dancers preserve a modern inheritance of discipline and grace.  This category includes articles relating to Cambodian dance; ancient and modern.
Devata & Apsara Photos: Meet the women of Angkor Wat (and other Khmer temples) face to face. Our website features the world’s first online photo galleries with sequential, mapped portraits of the women of Angkor Wat. Our digital archive has thousands of technical photos of women portrayed in the major Khmer temples, all of  whom will be available to the public here.
Devata Research: This topic will ultimately dominate this website. Here you’ll find details of our Devata Database Project, our Computer Facial Recognition work with Michigan State University, excepts from the upcoming publication “Daughters of Angkor Wat“, and much more.
Angkor Wat devata on the West Gopura - west wall
Angkor Wat devata on the West Gopura - west wall
Khmer History: Articles and reviews devoted to understanding and illuminating the extraordinary Khmer civilization.
Participate(!): If this information about the importance of women in history resonates with your beliefs we invite you to get involved by helping in these vital areas: translation (French to English, English to Khmer), promoting online visibility of women in history (Wikipedia, blogs, etc.), promoting these stories in conventional media (newspapers, TV, radio) and contributing your own ideas, research and papers (including for potential publication).
Store: Soon we’ll offer beautiful products to promote our philosophy and our discoveries while helping non-profit causes.
In the meantime, please enjoy, question, debate and contribute to the theories and information offered on Devata.org.
Use your eyes, your heart and your mind. Weigh the evidence.
These Khmer women have much to teach us about the past and future glories of the rich land of Cambodia. Join us in celebrating the glory and contributions of the Khmer Civilization: past, present and future.
With best regards,
Kent Davis [kentdavis@gmail.com]
Project Coordinator

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