One of the major cultural innovations of the Aegean Early Bronze Age was the introduction of metallurgy – bronze working in particular – from the Orient. In the Cyclades, metallurgy spread and developed during the Early Cycladic II period (2800-2300 BC). The Cycladιc islands had notable sources of metals for the time: copper on Kythnos and possibly Seriphos, lead and silver on Siphnos. Ores were also supplied by the mines of Lavrion in Attica. The most widespread metal was copper, which was at first mixed with arsenic and later with tin, creating more durable bronze alloys.
These alloys were used to make weapons (spearheads, daggers, etc.), tools (chisels, axes, drills, saws, fishing-hooks, etc.), toilet implements (pins, tweezers, etc.) and jewellery. Artifacts of other metals are rare: silver jewellery and miniature vessels, bronze figurines, lead boat models and clamps for repairs. The only gold object known from this period is a necklace bead.
Moulds for bronze tools and weapons from Kastri
(R.L.N. Barber, The Cyclades in the Bronze Age, Αθήνα 1994, p. 115)
Direct evidence for the working of bronze in the Cyclades is limited but instructive. Remains of hearths and crucibles of the Early Cycladic III period have been found at Kastri on Syros, together with slags and stone moulds which show that metal smiths knew how to cast bronze and produced both cast and hammered objects.
The spread of metallurgy in the Aegean during the third millennium BC gave impetus to crafts such as building, shipbuilding, carpentry, and the minor arts; at the same time, it promoted trade and contributed to the development of social stratification. Mainly, however, it brought important changes in the techniques of warfare. Bronze weapons become relatively common in the Cyclades in the later stages of the Early Cycladic II period and this seems to be related to the disturbances and upheavals that are observed in the Aegean during the transition to the Early Cycladic III period. According to one theory, this turmoil was due to conflicts between local populations for the control of sources of raw materials, such as copper, or access to networks trafficking metals that were more difficult to obtain, such as tin.