This article tracks the formation of the rich and socially complex Nordic Bronze Age (NBA), c. 2000–1500 bc, by applying a scalar methodology and using the entrepôt and early metalworking site of Pile in Scania as its point of departure. By regarding the Bronze Age as an ancient example of globalisation, Island Melanesia at the outskirts of contemporary globalisation is first examined to provide an analogue to the Nordic entrepreneurial and maritime culture into which metallurgy was first adopted. How did this northern margin become ‘Bronze Age’, and what impact did its inclusion have? Various scales, from local to Bronze-Age-global were found to intersect in the Pile hoard, and in similar sites near and far. By c. 2000 bc, metals and other commodities travelled along well-established local, regional, and super-regional networks, which even incorporated the British Isles and Únětician hubs at the Middle Elbe–Saale. Back in Scandinavia, metal and metal-related culture provided a comparative advantage when navigating local competition for influence and leadership. The transculturally global was strategically appropriated locally, using the reinvention of tradition as a principal strategy. The first metal boom caused friction and slow social change, rather than a social revolution. The real tipping point came in 1600–1500 bc, when the nearly full-blown NBA emerged, through engagement with a considerably expanded world. By this time, large amounts of metal were in circulation. Seen from the non-urban north, this unprecedented expansion of their world brought new opportunities but likely also deep social tensions. Thus, the effects of adopting metallurgy permeated society and connectivity at every level, even at the outskirts of the Bronze Age world.