The Department of Land and Natural Resources is training workers to crack down on crooks targeting historical sites.
Led by an expert from the mainland, state workers and law enforcement officers learned how to investigate crime scenes at archaeological sites through a mix of classroom and field exercises in Hilo.
State officials say the most common archaeological crime in Hawaii is looting of burial caves and historical sites.
“This class gives investigators and archaeologists the additional skills and knowledge to conduct thorough, scientifically sound investigations as part of a multi-prong effort that begins with awareness, followed by detection, investigation and ultimately prosecution,” said State Historic Preservation Division administrator Alan Downer.
Participants also learned about the looting, collecting and trafficking network, about state and federal statues used to prosecute archaeological violation cases and about the factors associated with archaeological crimes.
Experts say these types of crimes make up a $7-billion-a-year illegal industry in the United States.