BERLIN (AP) — The eastern German state of Saxony says it is returning human bones that were stolen from burial caves in Hawaii during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Dresden State Art Collections said in a statement Monday that the bones of native Hawaiians were stolen between 1896 and 1902 and sold to the Museum of Ethnology in Dresden.

Working with Hawaiian representatives, experts established the provenance of the bones so they could be repatriated.

Saxony's science minister, Eva-Maria Stange, says that through their return "the human bones, hitherto regarded as 'objects', are rehumanized and their inherent individuality and human value is restored."