Mark Cherrington/Earthwatch Institute

After the bones of the saints Astion and Epictetus were discovered in 2001, they were blessed and then reburied by Teodosie, the Romanian Orthodox archbishop of Tomis (at right). Early Christian records (the Acta Sanctorum, or Acts of the Saints) record that Astion and Epictetus were tortured and killed in Halmyris on July 8, 290 C.E. The discovery of human remains within the fort’s basilica provided the first concrete evidence of the martyrs’ existence. The skeletons in the tomb were those of a man in his 60s and another in his 30s, consistent with the story recounted in the Acta.