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Bauval was born in Alexandria, Egypt, to parents of Belgian and Maltese origins. He attended the British Boys' School in Alexandria (now El Nasr Boys' School) and the Franciscan College in Buckinghamshire, England. He left Egypt in 1967 just before the Six-Days War during the presidency of Gamal Abdel Nasser. He has spent most of his engineering career living and working in the Middle East and Africa as a construction engineer.
In late 1992 Bauval had been trying to obtain a translation of Hermetica by Walter Scott. He then came across a new edition printed by Solo Press with a foreword by Adrian Gilbert. Bauval contacted Gilbert after being interested in his foreword concerning a link between an Alexandrine school of Hermes Trismegistus and the pyramid builders of the Fourth dynasty of Egypt. They went on to write The Orion Mystery together, which became an international bestseller. BBC Two broadcast a documentary on Bauval's theories around the time of the book's publication. He has also co-authored three books with Graham Hancock.
Bauval is specifically known for the Orion Correlation Theory (OCT). This proposes a relationship between the fourth dynasty Egyptian pyramids of the Giza Plateau and the alignment of certain stars in the constellation of Orion.
One night in 1983, 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 Alnitak, the smaller more easterly 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.The theory, known as the Orion Correlation Theory or OCT, was first published in Discussions in Egyptology (DE, Volume 13, 1989)
This theory has inspired some books of such other successful writers as Javier Sierra.
Some of the hypotheses put forward in his works are regarded by some mainstream archaeologists and historians as a form of pseudoscience. Among his more notable theories is the possible connection with the Giza necropolis and the epoch of 12,500 years ago. Several Egyptologists have however entertained the general idea that some astronomical correlations may have figured in or been represented by certain physical features and orientations in Ancient Egyptian monuments. In particular, the aspects of the OCT which claim there is a link between the Ancient Egyptian structures at Giza and the constellations as they looked some 12,500 years ago are yet to find support from many within the field.
One such expressing an interest in these ideas was a leading authority on the Pyramids of the mid- to latter-20th century, I.E.S. Edwards. In 1983 Edwards stated that Bauval had made a "convincing case" that the Giza pyramids were a representation of Orion's belt. Also in a 1992 statement, Edwards says of Bauval "In my opinion he has made a number of interesting discoveries"; however Bauval himself acknowledges that categorical statements about Edwards' position on the OCT as later developed by Bauval and Hancock in The Keeper of Genesis cannot be made as he did not comment directly on the material. Bauval further acknowledges that "he would have been unlikely to give further support to such controversial ideas linking Giza and 10,500 BC or 11,500 BC".
Bauval has appeared on BBC, Channel 4, History Channel, National Geographic Channel, CNN, ABC, NBC, RAI 2 and on several other European, Middle Eastern and Asian Channels. He has recently featured in the film 2012: Science or Superstition, a documentary describing how much of what we're hearing is science and how much is superstition.  He has also recently been a featured commentator on the History Channel show, Ancient Aliens.