Few will doubt that in the East Mediterranean world and in the Near East the development of metallurgy was an important factor (though certainly not the only one) in the evolution of socio-economic organization in the Late Chalcolithic and especially in the Early and Late Bronze Age. The availability of silver, lead and gold added markedly to the possibilities of the acquisition of prestigious objects by the few, to developments in the concept of wealth and in the development of hierarchical societies. The availability of copper, arsenical copper, and later, tin bronze made possible the production of tools which transformed certain crafts (perhaps particularly carpentry and shipbuilding) and, with the development of weapons, revolutionized warfare.
This no doubt led to something of an arms race which put its own pressures on societies in the search for and exploitation of metals. The more successful population groups will have greatly increased the density of their population and changed their structure, not only by moving from local chief to regional monarch but also by that monarch securing his authority by the creation of dependent privileged groups and by the encouragement of the emergence of specialized workers and craftsmen. In turn such socio-economic developments, in which the emergence of class differentiation led to the creation of aristocracies or other forms of elite ruling classes, eventually provided the environments in which skilled metal workers could find the time, necessary incentives and artistic inspiration to develop advanced metalworking skills.