Bauval discusses The Orion correlation theory (or Giza Orion correlation theory) It is a hypothesis in pyramidology. Its central claim is that there is a correlation between the location of the three largest pyramids of the Giza pyramid complex and the three
middle stars of the constellation Orion, and that this correlation was intended as such by the builders of the pyramids. The stars of Orion were associated with Osiris, the sun-god of rebirth and afterlife, by the ancient Egyptians. Depending on the version
of the theory, additional pyramids can be included to complete the picture of the Orion constellation, and the Nile river can be included to match with the Milky Way galaxy. The theory was first published in 1989 in Discussions in Egyptology, volume 13. It
was the subject of a bestseller, The Orion Mystery, in 1994, as well as a BBC documentary, The Great Pyramid: Gateway to the Stars (February 1994), and appears in some new-age books.
The Orion correlation theory was first put forward by
Robert Bauval in 1983. One night, while working in Saudi Arabia, he took his family and a friend's family up into the sand dunes of the Arabian desert for a camping expedition. His friend pointed out Orion, and mentioned that Mintaka, the smaller more westerly
of the stars making up Orion's belt, was offset slightly from the others. Bauval then made a connection between the layout of the three main stars in Orion's belt and the layout of the three main pyramids in the Giza necropolis. He published this idea in 1989
in the journal Discussions in Egyptology, volume 13. The idea has been further expounded by Bauval in collaboration with Adrian Gilbert (The Orion Mystery, 1994) and Graham Hancock (Keeper of Genesis, 1996), as well as in their separate publications. The basis
of this theory concerns the proposition that the relative positions of three main Ancient Egyptian pyramids on the Giza plateau are (by design) correlated with the relative positions of the three stars in the constellation of Orion which make up Orion's Belt—
as these stars appeared in 10,000 BC.
Their initial claims regarding the alignment of the Giza pyramids with Orion ("...the three pyramids were a terrestrial map of the three stars of Orion's belt"—Hancock's Fingerprints of the Gods, 1995,
p. 375) are later joined with speculation about the age of the Great Sphinx (Hancock and Bauval, Keeper of Genesis, published 1996, and in 1997 in the U.S. as The Message of the Sphinx). According to these works, the Great Sphinx was constructed c. 10,500
BC (Upper Paleolithic), and its lion-shape is maintained to be a definitive reference to the constellation of Leo. Furthermore, the orientation and dispositions of the Sphinx, the Giza pyramids and the Nile River relative to one another on the ground is put
forward as an accurate reflection or "map" of the constellations of Leo, Orion (specifically, Orion's Belt) and the Milky Way respectively.