Trade constitutes one of the most important sectors of the economy of the Early Bronze Age and is connected to the development of navigation in the Aegean. Trade was developed because of the need for raw manufacturing materials (obsidian, metals), the acquirement of expertise and the promotion of exchangeable agricultural and manufactured products.

The finds from settlements and cemeteries ascertain the Aegean character of trade and contribute to the diagnosis of trade networks (regional or extended) and that of the intensity of the cultural contacts in the different periods of the Early Bronze Age. In the framework of the search for raw materials for the practice of metalworking the north Helladic region accomplished contact with the Balkans and western Asia Minor from the beginning of the 3rd millenium. In the EH I-II, the southern mainland has frequent commercial contacts with the Cyclades aiming at obtaining obsidian (an indispensable metal for the manufacture of sharp blades) and copper, lead and silver from the mines of Siphnos (Agios Sostis) and probably from Seriphos and Syros as well. During the second half of the 3rd millenium very frequent contacts take place between the eastern coasts of south Greece and the Cyclades and northeast Aegean. These relations are extended beyond metalworking to other cultural sectors (ideology, privilege goods, architecture) and indicate the economic prosperity and the creation of powerful settlements (regional hierarchies) as well as the new social structure of the Aegean communities. The Aegean is a sea in which the so-called "international spirit" dominates. During the EH III the above mentionned regions experience a recession in their trading activities deriving from the general economic changes that take place during this period.

Apart from the raw materials (obsidian, metals), other exchangeable goods are: pigments (azurite, malachite), bone cases, marble statuettes and vases, silver jewellery and pottery from the Cyclades. EH settlements have ceramics, stone vases and seals from Crete while in Lerna ceramic vases from Troy were found. Moreover, EH vases and seals occur in archaeological sites of the Cyclades and the northeastern Aegean (Troy, Lemnos, Samothrace) thus indicating the existence of extensive commercial networks. Finally, the millstones and pestles made of andesite which were transported by the ship that sank at Dokos, as well as the millstones of Aeginetan andesite unearthed in EH sites of the Argolid and Attica are integrated in the limited commercial exchanges carried out in the Argosaronic gulf.

Orchomenos. Incised depiction of a ship.