Metal played an important role in developing the regional economies of the southern Levant and Egypt. However, very little is known about the contexts in which knowledge of extractive metallurgy was procured by these communities and thus how the learning process may have contributed to shaping local identities, power structures, and systems of belief. In the last decade, research has expanded available datasets to begin refining timelines and interpretations. By combining anthropological game theory with a communities of practice approach to learning and identity, this study surveys the transformation of economic cooperation between communities in the southern Levant and Egypt around the mining and production of copper. I propose possible contexts in which production-related knowledge may have been transmitted between members of socially differentiated groups and explore the significance of those exchanges as they relate to the rise of the early Egyptian state. The dissertation argues that copper production played a central role in fostering economic cooperation among communities in the Nile Valley, southern Levant, and southwest Asia during the fifth millennium, creating a shared landscape of ritual praxis and knowledge that would last for millennia. I propose that core symbols of an elite Egyptian political identity were the product of active participation in early metalworking communities in southwest Asia during the fifth and fourth millennium, and further explore the central role of copper in the economic foundation of the early Egyptian state and ideological system which legitimized its authority. The study of the contexts and subsequent implications of metallurgical knowledge transfer via cooperation between communities of practice allows us to move toward a more nuanced understanding of the social environments in which new practices, identities, and power structures were forged.