At the onset of the 2nd millennium bc, a wool economy emerged across continental Europe. Archaeological, iconographical, and written sources from the Near East and the Aegean show that a Bronze Age wool economy involved considerable specialised labour and large scale animal husbandry. Resting only on archaeological evidence, detailed knowledge of wool economies in Bronze Age Europe has been limited, but recent investigations at the Terramare site of Montale, in northern Italy, document a high density of spindle whorls that strongly supports the existence of village-level specialised manufacture of yarn. Production does not appear to have been attached to an emerging elite nor was it fully independent of social constraints. We propose that, although probably managed by local elites, wool production was a community-based endeavour oriented towards exports aimed at obtaining locally unavailable raw materials and goods.