Orion the Hunter (Image: OpenClipart-Vectors, Pixabay)

Going Orion in a Circle (Or: The Challenging Cayce of 10,500BC)

The Rise and Fall of a Correlation

The way the, so called, Orion Correlation Theory has degenerated over time is reviewed and the 10,500 BC date is found to have been entirely inspired by Edgar Cayce.

The so-called Orion Correlation Theory – that the Giza pyramids were an earthbound representation of the constellation of Orion – first came to public notice in 1994. Its published origins, however, go back a few years earlier to 1989 and Discussions in Egyptology where Bauval claimed:

… the characteristic pattern of the three stars of the Belt of Orion matched, with striking similarity, the pattern defined by the three Great Pyramids of Giza. [1]

By 1994 he’d teamed up with Adrian Gilbert to write The Orion Mystery in which it is stated:

Not only did the layout of the pyramids match the stars with uncanny precision but the intensity of the stars, shown by their apparent size, corresponded with the Giza group; there were three stars, three pyramids, three Osiris-Orion kings. [2]


Five of the seven bright stars of Orion were thus accounted for in the Fourth Dynasty pyramids. [3]

Finally Aldebaran and Epsilon Tauri were added:

These two stars, seen together after rising, had the exact layout relative to each other and the axis of the Milky Way as the two Dashour pyramids relative to each other and the axis of the Nile. Transposing the two stars on the correlation Memphis-Duat map, they fitted the position of the two Dashour pyramids. [4]

This latter aspect was, he claimed, supported by the work of Jane Sellers in her book The Death of Gods in Ancient Egypt.

A year later, in 1995, Hancock wrote Fingerprints of the Gods where he stated:

…the three pyramids were an unbelievably precise terrestrial map of the three stars of Orion’s belt, accurately reflecting the angles between each of them and even (by means of their respective sizes) providing some indication of their individual magnitudes. Moreover, this map extended outwards to the north and south to encompass several other structures on the Giza plateau – once again with faultless precision. [5]

The reference is to The Orion Mystery.

A year later, in 1996, Hancock and Bauval were collaborating on Keeper of Genesis/Message of the Sphinx (US) and wrote, with respect to the Giza Pyramids only:

The visual correlation, once observed, is obvious and striking on its own. [6]

The reference is, again, to The Orion Mystery – a big change in the course of a year but still referencing the same source……

Interestingly, the following is also quoted:

In one of these texts, Shat Ent Am Duat – the Book of What is in the Duat– we find what appears to be an explicit instruction to the initiate to build a replica on the ground of a special area known as the ‘hidden circle of the Duat’: ‘Whosoever shall make an exact copy of these forms…..and shall know it, shall be a spirit and well equipped both in heaven and earth, unfailingly, and regularly and eternally. [7]

There is, of course, an obvious contradiction here; the “precision” of The Orion Mystery and Fingerprints of the Gods has been dropped but textual support that requires an “exact copy” introduced …

It is tempting to wonder what caused such a major change of definition in the course of a single year ? Could it be because the so-called “wider plan” as well as the basic correlation” had been so strongly questioned by fine scholars such as Jaromir Malek and John Legon ? The latter wrote (with respect to the so-called “wider plan”):

Anything less resembling a correlation would be hard to imagine, and it so happens that neither of the corner stars which were selected by Bauval are the stars closest to their ‘respective’ pyramids. One could, of course, stretch out and rotate the constellation-pattern to obtain a correlation for Bellatrix and Saiph, but in this case the positions of the Belt stars will no longer be represented with any accuracy by the Giza pyramids. [8]

Within two years of Keeper of Genesis/Message of the Sphinx Bauval had withdrawn the “wider plan” retaining only the link between Giza and Orion’s Belt and Dashour and the Hyades.

The obvious question is how much, if any, of this was properly checked before publication ?

It’s interesting to note that in The Orion Mystery it’s stated that:

Surely all Fourth Dynasty pyramids would have been involved in the master plan to forge the soul of Osiris on the sacred land of Memphis? [9]

which means that the “correlation” no longer fulfils one of the criteria defined by its originators. The three pyramids at Giza were built over at least four – probably five – reigns, so we’re now looking for an explanation as to why the masterplan was interrupted ?

In 1998 there was an interplanetary diversion in The Mars Mystery, where it was stated that:

The constellation of Orion, represented by its three belt stars, is mirrored by the three pyramids of Giza. The constellation of Taurus, represented by two bright stars in the characteristic ‘V’ of its horns, is twinned with the two pyramids of Dashur. [10]


…the Giza group mimic the sky-image of the belt stars of Orion while the Dashur pyramids mimic the relative positions of two stars in the constellation of Taurus – Aldebaran and epsilon Tauri. [11]

In both cases the reference is to The Orion Mystery.

Also in 1998 in Heaven’s Mirror, Hancock was stating:

The visual correlation, once observed, is obvious and striking on its own. [12]

The reference, this time, is to Keeper of Genesis/Message of the Sphinx.

Earlier in the book (as in Keeper of Genesis/Message of the Sphinx) Hancock quotes:

Similarly, in the Book of What is in the Duat we learn that the essential requirement for those seeking the life eternal was that they should build on the ground perfect copies

of the hidden circle of the Duat in the body of Nut [the sky]: Whosoever shall make an exact copy of these forms, and shall know it, shall be a spirit well-equipped both in heaven and in earth, unfailingly, and regularly and eternally. [13]

As before there is the same obvious contradiction regarding a “correlation” that is no longer described as “precise” being supported by texts that require an “exact copy”……

In 1999 in Bauval’s Secret Chamber there’s a reprint of his original 1989 article from Discussions In Egyptology 13 in which, as noted previously, he claims:

…the characteristic pattern of the three stars of the Belt of Orion matched, with striking similarity, the pattern defined by the three Great Pyramids of Giza.”[14]

Later in 1999 in the BBC TV documentary Horizon: Atlantis Reborn, Hancock stated:

…the Ancient Egyptians were making a pleasing, symbolic resemblance to what they saw in the sky on the ground…


The people who built these monuments were making a grand symbolic statement that was supposed to be understood on an intuitive and spiritual level. [15]

In 2001 there was a new edition of Fingerprints of the Gods which contained, in the Introduction, his Position Statement (which is alternative-history-speak for “I didn’t check this before publication”) on the quarry marks in the Great Pyramid but no reference whatsoever to Bauval’s previously mentioned withdrawal of the “wider plan” or the previously mentioned Horizon statements to the effect that the “Correlation” had been revised to purely “symbolic”.

The main body of the text still repeats the “unbelievably precise” and “faultless precision” assertions from the original 1995 edition and anybody interested in finding something approaching the current position has to wade through the Horizon interview transcript in Appendix I to find his statement to the effect that:

No they’re not absolutely correct and I don’t care. [16]

Why should details of such an important change be tucked away in an Appendix and not made more prominent ? An answer can be found on his website where he tells us:

A parallel for what I do is to be found in the work of an attorney defending a client in a court of law. My ‘client’ is a lost civilisation and it is my responsibility to persuade the jury – the public – that this civilisation did exist. Since the ‘prosecution’ – orthodox academics – naturally seek to make the opposite case as effectively as they can, I must be equally effective and, where necessary, equally ruthless.So it is certainly true, as many of my critics have pointed out, that I am selective with the evidence I present. Of course I’m selective! It isn’t my job to show my client in a bad light!

What would help “Hercule Poirot” Hancock to best make his case: “unbelievably precise” and “faultless precision” or “No they’re not absolutely correct and I don’t care” ?

It is clear that this downsizing of the “correlation” hadn’t been shared with Adrian Gilbert, co-author of The Orion Mystery, as in 2000 his book Signs in the Sky was published. In addition to containing an impossible rendition of the “correlation” it includes Kappa Orionis associated with Abu Roash and Bellatrix associated with Zawiyet El-Aryan. [17]

Over a decade this “correlation” has gone from “striking similarity” to “uncanny precision” and “unbelievably precise” (incorporating more than just the Giza pyramids) to “obvious and striking” (incorporating just the Giza pyramids) and, finally, to “symbolic”. Even Jane Sellers – so frequently referenced by Hancock and Bauval – takes issue with Bauval’s treatment of her work.

So what is left ?

It is hard to invest a lot of intellectual effort into 3 stars in a row and 3 pyramids on the ground. [18]


Three stars do not, in any case, make a constellation. [19]

Back to the ‘First Time’

But there’s more to the Orion Correlation than just linking the pyramids with stars. We’re also supposed to believe that the Old Kingdom pyramid builders deliberately precessionally encoded a date – 10,500 BC – on the Giza Plateau. Notwithstanding that the evidence for them having a quantitative understanding of precession together with knowledge of where in the precessional cycle they happened to be is, at best, non existent it is interesting to review how this is defined.

Starting in 1994 with The Orion Mystery, we’re told:

But what now emerges from the visual picture of the southern sky at the epoch c. 10400BC is this:

The pattern of Orion’s Belt seen on the ‘west’ of the Milky Way matches, with uncanny precision, the pattern and alignments of the three Giza pyramids!

In c. 2450BC, when the Great Pyramid was built, the correlation was experienced when Orion’s Belt was seen in the east at the moment of heliacal rising of Sirius, the perfect ‘meridian to meridian’ patterns, i.e., when the two images superimpose in perfect match; this is when we see the First Time of Orion’s Belt in c. 10450BC.

It cannot be coincidence that such a perfect arrangement of the terrestrial and celestial central portion of the Osirian Duat, Rostau, occurs at the start of the great precessional cycle at 10450BC. [20]

A year later in 1995’s Fingerprints of the Gods, Hancock tells us:

However, the real surprise revealed by Bauval’s astronomical calculations was this: despite the fact that some aspects of the Great Pyramid did relate astronomically to the Pyramid Age, the Giza monuments as a whole were arranged as to provide a picture of the skies (which alter their appearance down the ages as a result of precession of the equinoxes) not as they had looked in the Fourth Dynasty around 2500BC, but as they had looked – and only as they had looked – around the year 10,450BC. [21]


At 10450 BC – and at that date only – we find that the pattern of the pyramids on the ground provides a perfect reflection of the pattern of the stars in the sky. [22]

Moving on to 1996 and Keeper of Genesis/Message of the Sphinx, we get:

The sky-ground images are, of course, similar, but there is a sense that the sky image needs somehow to be ‘twisted’ in an anti-clockwise direction to get the perfect match. This can only be achieved by going back in time – by looking at the sky above Giza in a far earlier epoch…. [23]


The perfect match of sky-ground images is achieved in 10,500 BC when the pattern of the Milky Way and of the three stars of Orion’s belt at meridian transit is precisely matched by the course of the Nile and the pattern of the three great Pyramids on the ground. [24]

It is interesting to note that, as seen earlier, the “precision” of The Orion Mystery and Fingerprints of the Gods that had previously defined the basic “correlation” has disappeared but we’re still told that a “perfect” or “precise” match can be obtained at 10,500 BC.

The obvious question is how a “correlation” that is only obvious and striking” can give a “perfect” or “precise” match ?

A couple of years later, in spite of the title, 1998’s The Mars Mystery claimed, with an uncharacteristically wide tolerance, that:

…. we have demonstrated with a substantial body of evidence that the pattern of stars that is ‘frozen’ on the ground at Giza in the form of the three pyramids and the Sphinx represents the disposition of the constellations of Orion and Leo as they looked at the moment of sunrise on the spring equinox during the astronomical ‘Age of Leo’ (i.e, the epoch in which the Sun was ‘housed’ by Leo on the spring equinox.) Like all precessional ages this was a 2,160-year period. It is generally calculated to have fallen between the Gregorian calendar dates of 10,970 and 8810 BC. [25]

The reference is to Fingerprints of the Gods.

Also in 1998 in Heaven’s Mirror, Hancock reports (of Bauval) that:

Using Skyglobe to ‘wind the stars back’ and compare what he saw in the skies to the pattern of the three great Pyramids on the ground, he discovered that there was only one epoch in which heaven and earth locked together perfectly. This was the epoch of 10,500 BC, the lowest point, or beginning – effectively the ‘first time’ – of the current precessional cycle of the constellation of Orion. It is in that epoch, and only in that epoch, that the pattern of the Pyramids on the ground would have exactly replicated the pattern of the three belt stars.”[26]

In 1999 the Professor of Astronomy, University of Cape Town, and Planetarium Director, South African Museum, Anthony Fairall, wrote in the Royal Astronomical Society’s journal Astronomy and Geophysics regarding the claimed date of 10,500 BC:

My own investigation showed that, while the line of the two outer pyramids is set 38 degrees from north, the angle of Orion’s Belt to north in 10500 BC is close on 50 degrees! Hardy an exact match. I calculate that circular precessional motion would give 47 degrees, whereas including nutational terms makes it slightly higher. Measurements in the planetarium agree. Bauval, on the other hand appears to have used computer programmes. He implies that only with modern sophisticated computers can we examine the ancient skies! I wonder if he also made the mistake of measuring angles off a flat screen. [27]

In his 1999 book Secret Chamber, Bauval responded to Fairall in part of what appears to have been a late addition to the book: Appendix 2: The Giza Star-Correlation Theory and 10,500 BC. [28]

As has already been demonstrated, Bauval misrepresented and selectively quoted from what Fairall actually wrote.

Following the BBC Horizon: Atlantis Reborn programme Bauval complained about the portrayal of the angles involved:

….you have shown a supposed angle of 38 degrees for the ground alignment of the Pyramids against a supposed 50 degrees alignment for the star alignment. Let me point out that the angle on the ground (which runs through the apex of the two larger pyramids) is close to 45 degrees, not 38. As for the angle of Orion’s belt (which run through the two larger stars) is (according to Fairall’s own calculation) is between 40 and 43 degrees, not 50. The 50 degrees are measured from meridian to horizontal, rather than from horizontal to the alignment of the stars.

Professor Fairall responded to this:

In terms of the angles, made by the pyramid layout, Bauval refers to 45 degrees – the common diagonal of the pyramids of Khufu and Khafre (excluding Menkaure). But, in the Hancock/Bauval video (the segment included in Horizon), a 45-degree line is passed through the three stars of Orion’s Belt as though they lay in a straight line, which is not the case.


…….whether Orion’s Belt is one way up or the other, a 45 degree line can only fit two of the three pyramids. The only way the three stars can be fitted to the three pyramids ……is by changing the tilt of Orion’s Belt by some 10 degrees – and that rules out 10500 B.C.Had Bauval’s hypothesis been correct, a match to the ground layout …. should have given a date of 12000 B.C. – not the claimed 10500 B.C.

The Horizon programme was rebroadcast as Atlantis Reborn Again in December 2000 with some extra footage inserted. On noting that there appeared to be a difference between the angles quoted by Professor Fairall this was clarified and showed further flaws in Bauval’s methodology.

But why are these definitions, angles, etc constantly shifting like the sands of the Sahara in order to try and maintain this date of 10,500 B.C. ? As we have seen, Hancock and Bauval have several times claimed that 10,500 B.C. is the only date where the pyramid-star match is locked (see the quotations above).

But this is not true.

Since precession is a cycle lasting 26,000 years, supposedly exact matches can be obtained in 36,500 B.C. or 62,500 B.C. or even 88,500 B.C. For conventional historians, none of these dates are any less ludicrous than 10,500 B.C. [29]

So Hancock and Bauval have not deduced the date of 10,500 B.C. – they have chosen it. Why ?

The answer can be found in a subsequent work by Adrian Gilbert, co-author of The Orion Mystery: his Signs In The Sky published in 2000:

In The Orion Mystery we presented the theory that the Egyptian Tep Zepi [sic] or ‘first Time’ corresponded with the epoch represented in Plato’s dialogues as seeing the destruction of Atlantis. Following the line of the famous American clairvoyant Edgar Cayce we suggested that this was c. 10,500 BC. This was the time when the Belt of Orion would have been at its lowest in the sky. As the Belt stars set to the south-west of Giza, so they would have formed an angle of approximately 27° west of the southern meridian drawn from G2, the Khafre pyramid. This is close to, but not precisely in alignment with, the Cook line; but if we go back a further 330 years to c. 10,880, then the alignment is exact. [30]

In The Orion Mystery we’re told that:

Our first rule is that wherever possible we should take passages at face value. Where possible the texts should be left to speak for themselves, and there are passages which speak plainly, even to a layman. [31]

and in this case the meaning is crystal clear. The astronomy doesn’t provide the claimed date, although the almost 400 year discrepancy is less than the 1500 years calculated by Professor Fairall (note that the results from sophisticated planetarium equipment are far superior to those from computer programs. Professor Fairall did, of course, ask: 

I wonder if he also made the mistake of measuring angles off a flat screen.)

So what are we to make of statements such as those in Secret Chamber to the effect that:

The point about Giza and the date of 10,500 BC is this: whether it pleases us or not, it cannot be denied that there is an uncanny, almost but not quite exact correlation between the imagery in the sky and the imagery on the ground at Giza at the epoch 10,500 BC when the vernal point is precisely on the rise. [32]

The definition of how three pyramids and three stars are supposedly associated has been rewritten so many times that any credibility it might once have had has been long lost. The original definition required the inclusion of all fourth dynasty pyramids which was destroyed by the withdrawal of the “wider plan”. The texts that are supposed to support it require exact copies – but the correlation is now defined as symbolic. This is without mentioning that it is upside down or that the Sphinx, which was added to the scheme in Keeper of Genesis/Message of the Sphinx, is on the wrong side of the River Nile !

We’re supposed to believe that a date of 10,500 BC was precessionally encoded (see the earlier comments on the evidence – or rather the lack of evidence – for detailed, quantitative, knowledge of precession in the third millennium BC) on the Giza Plateau which, as Professor Fairall has shown, is incorrect by 1500 years. Notwithstanding that the introduction of the current zodiac postdates the construction of the Giza pyramids by almost two millennia, Professor Fairall has also shown that that the claims that:

….10500 BC would be during the astrological “Age of the Lion”

are without foundation as this:

 …. lies decidedly in Virgo

 and that:

Bauval’s claim of an Age of Leo, which, had that constellation been recognised in distant antiquity, would have supported a date around 8500 B.C., not 10500 B.C.

The astronomy is so suspect that it’s fortunate that there’s confirmation from the co-author of The Orion Mystery that the point of the whole exercise was to attempt to align with the prophecies of a long dead clairvoyant. Otherwise it would all be totally incomprehensible !


[1] R.G. Bauval, A master-plan for the three pyramids of Giza based on the configuration of the three stars of the Belt of Orion, Discussions in Egyptology 13, 1989, pp 7-18

[2] R. Bauval and A. Gilbert, The Orion Mystery, Crown, 1994, p 123

[3] ibid, p 124

[4] ibid, p 143

[5] G. Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods, Arrow, 1998 (1995), p 375

[6] G. Hancock and R. Bauval, Keeper of Genesis, Arrow, 1997 (1996), p 70

[7] ibid, p 82

[8] J.A.R. Legon, The Orion Correlation and Air-Shaft Theories, Discussions in Egyptology 33, 1995, pp 45-56

[9] R. Bauval and A. Gilbert, op cit, pp 123

[10] G. Hancock, R. Bauval and J. Grigsby, The Mars Mystery, Penguin, 1998, p 188

[11] ibid, p 271

[12] G. Hancock and S. Faiia, Heaven’s Mirror, Penguin, 1999 (1998), p 95

[13] ibid, p 89

[14] R. Bauval, Secret Chamber, Arrow, 2000 (1999), pp 449-50

[15] BBC HorizonAtlantis Reborn, 4 November 1999. [This was Part 2 of a two-part documentary. The earlier episode, Atlantis Uncovered, was aired 28 October 1999. A transcript of Atlantis Reborn, the second part, can be found here. As explained in the text, on 14 December 2000, Atlantis Reborn was re-broadcast (with extra footage) as Atlantis Reborn Again; a transcript can be found here. -Ed.]

[16] G. Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods, The Quest Continues, Century, 2001, p 686

[17] A. Gilbert, Signs in the Sky, Transworld, 2000, Plate 15

[18] E.C. Krupp, in BBC Horizon, op cit

[19] J.A.R. Legon, op cit, p 48

[20] R. Bauval and A. Gilbert, op cit, pp 192-3

[21] G. Hancock, op cit, p 375

[22] G. Hancock, op cit, pp 469-70

[23] G. Hancock and R. Bauval, op cit, p 71

[24] ibid, p 72

[25] G. Hancock, R. Bauval and J. Grigsby, op cit, p 189

[26] G. Hancock and S. Faiia, op cit, p 96

[27] A. Fairall, Precession and the Layout of the Ancient Egyptian PyramidsAstronomy and GeophysicsRoyal Astronomical Society, June 1999

[28] R.Bauval, op cit, pp 480-3

[29] G. Fagan and C. Hale, The New Atlantis and the Dangers of PseudohistorySkeptic 9.1, 2001, pp 78-87

[30] A. Gilbert, op cit, p 257 (N.B. There are a couple of minor scribal errors here; in The Orion Mystery (and Fingerprints of the Gods) the date given was c. 10,450 BC which would make 330 years into 430 years. The “Cook line” refers to the work of the illustrator of The Orion Mystery, Robin Cook)

[31] R. Bauval and A. Gilbert, op cit, p 85

[32] R. Bauval, op cit, p 483

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