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For some considerable time right up to the present, almost all specialists have been dealing at various different regional levels with the topics of the conference published here. The expansion of the source material in the last decades has led to a comprehensive understanding of early metallurgy and its role in social, economic and settlement-structure terms. Despite this far-reaching progress, concrete questions are emerging more and more clearly that can only be answered at international and interdisciplinary levels. It is precisely this international communication that the conference on which the present volume is based has attempted to set in motion so as to address these complex questions. This publication pulls together and sets out the state of research on the topic at the beginning of the 21st century for the entire Central and Western Mediterranean regions.