The Orion-Theory

In 1994 the book The Orion Mystery by Robert Bauval and Adrian Gilbert caused an uproar in the Egyptological world like no single book before. No wonder, it states on its cover "After more than 4000 years the secrets of the pyramids had been solved" (German paperback edition). The thesis, which purports to have done this, is now called the Orion Correlation Theory or, in short, the OCT.
Although published by two authors the thesis is essentially the work of Robert Bauval. He claims to have found the answer to a questions which has been hotly debated for decades:
Is pyramid placement coincidental? Or is there a wider plan? For many decades this has been discussed. Most of it centres around - oh wonder - the Giza-pyramids (in short Gizamids ;-) ). Some scientists say the distribution is pure coincidence, others say that it is because of the available terrain, others think they have discovered an underlying geometrical pattern to explain the locations. Some examples are listed in the pyramid section of this site. Nearly all "pattern"-theories have one major fault: to explain them the Egyptians needed a knowledge of mathematics and geometry which they never had. Those ideas are therefore pure speculation.
Bauval and Gilbert argue using a mythology-derived distribution. As a result of their investigations they concluded that the Egyptian World of the Dead was located in the sky and that the placement of the pyramids represented the most important stars for them.

The dead kings, and ordinary people later, became the god Osiris after their death. This god had a stellar representation, the constellation Sah which is, according to Bauval, identical to our modern Orion. Since each person had one star soul, each dead king could become one star of Orion, thus the pyramids were placed in a way to represent the specific star the king became.
In later times a new solar cult replaced the older stellar religion, the pyramids of the late 5th and 6th dynasty do not therefore match any stars in the sky.
The best evidence for the Orion cult is the comparison between the 3 largest pyramids at Giza with the so called belt-stars of Orion:

Pyramids from above plus Belt of Orion

is Orion and Pyramids
Fig. 1 - Orion and Pyramiden according to Bauval/Gilbert

There is a striking resemblance: three stars in the middle of the Orion constellation, diagonally but with one star deviating, and three pyramids, also with one deviating from the diagonal. And the relative positions of stars and pyramids match each other perfectly.

But the authors found even more similarities which cannot be explained by coincidence:


There are some problems with the idea. For example: The inclination of the pyramids relative to the equator was different, at the time of their construction, from that of the belt stars against the celestial equator (and therefore against the horizon) at their highest position in the sky. Therefore Bauval suggested that the pyramids were planned at another time. After some calculations he concluded that the inclinations matched at about 10500 BCE.
The other stars also had their best correlation with their pyramids around that time so the authors concluded that the pyramids were planned around the end of the last ice age. Since the shafts in the Great Pyramid point to a building date of about 2450 BCE, the planning and building dates differ by about 8000 years!
But that "shaft date" also creates problems because it is too young. At present Egyptologists are tending to make the Old Kingdom a little bit older rather than younger.

Such a revolutionary thesis generated objections from academia. The first inconsistency found was about a mixup of the directions implemented into the concept, and shortly afterwards it was discovered that the inclinations did not match at the claimed planning date.
But that is secondary. The biggest question is, if the foundation of the theory is correct, the necessary link with Ancient Egyptian culture. Can the Osiris/Orion-myth be traced back to the beginning of the pyramid building era? My preliminary investigations found some serious problems here.

Therefore the following analysis of the OCT will consist of two parts. I will start with a discussion of the cultural link addressing the following points:

The second part deals with the "normal" OCT critique including:

The second part is an expanded version of my old home page with some new points (eg. Milky Way).
But I will give an advanced warning: the first part is very difficult material!!!

All pictures and texts © Frank Dörnenburg