How is the IWGP organised?



The IWGP is a voluntary group (unincorporated association) and has no registered members and no president. It is a non-profit organisation, which possesses neither property nor budget. Its goals are the international exchange between researchers, who investigate past interactions of humans and plants.

Since 2023, the IWGP hosts Research Groups focusing on specific topics.

The following is an excerpt of the first conference report from 1968, signed by the founding committee members Karl-Ernst Behre, Maria Hopf, and Willem Van Zeist:

Unter den Symposiumsteilnehmern bestand volle Einstimmigkeit, die gegenseitigen Kontakte sowie Zusammenkünfte in der durchgeführten Form als Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Paläoethnobotanik IAP (International Work Group for Palaeoethnobotany) weiter zu pflegen. Diese lose Arbeitsgemeinschaft kennt keine eingetragenen Mitglieder und keinen Präsidenten; sie soll vorerst keiner anderen Organisation angeschlossen werden. Ihre Zusammenkünfte und deren Themen sollen je nach Bedarf von einem Treffen zum nächsten vereinbart werden und nach Möglichkeit von Land zu Land wechseln. Das gastgebende Land stellt jeweils den Sekretär zur Führung der notwendigen Geschäfte.”

There was full unanimity among the symposium participants to continue mutual contacts as well as meetings as the Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Paläoethnobotanik “IAP” (International Work Group for Palaeoethnobotany). This loose working group has no registered members and no president; it is not to be affiliated with any other organisation for the time being. Its meetings and their topics are to be arranged from one meeting to the next as needed and, if possible, to change from country to country. The host country shall provide the secretary to conduct the necessary business.


[translated with DeepL]


The Committees


The IWGP Committee

Acting in the role of a Management Committee, the IWGP Committee steers the Work Group’s activities and supports its pursuit of international networking and communication. This group of varying size decides upon our conference locations, and accompanies conference organisers (Steering Committee + Scientific Committee) in a role similiar to an external advisory board. This committee is responsible for keeping the overarching goals of international communication and collaboration alive.

Since the second conference in 1971, new committee members are elected by a majority of the already active ones. However, the main organiser (i.e. head of Steering Committee) of a conference automatically becomes member of the IWGP Committee afterwards, as long as the committee’s majority does not object.

In order to maintain continuity and stability, these positions are usually given only to established researchers, and they are permanent until the member resigns. Since the 19th conference in 2022, two additional rotating positions are given to early career researchers.

The Steering Committees

A research group who is successful in their application to organise the next IWGP Conference becomes its temporary Steering Committee. This group is entirely free to organise the upcoming conference as they wish. It is their responsibility to decide upon aspects as diverse as budgeting (admission fees, acquisition of sponsors), schedules (number, thematic orientation, and structure of sessions), or types of presentations (oral, poster, round tables, microscopy sessions, etc.). This group can always seek the IWGP Committee’s advice in questions of organisation and scientific content.

The Scientific Committees

The temporary Steering Committee can freely nominate a Scientific Committee for their conference. Its members assist in building the scientific content and help structure of the conference. This is regarded as a means of securing the quality of the presentations presented. However, the final decision on who presents what, how, and when, always lies with the Steering Committee.

Background image: Charred cultivated plant remains from Fuente Álamo (prov. Almería, Spain), Bronze Age El Argar culture © Hans-Peter Stika