The Ex-SPACE project aims to explore trends in social permeability in some ancient communities of Europe, focussing on scientific analysis of a selection of Italian pre-protohistoric burial contexts. The ‘social permeability’ of a group refers to its capacity to incorporate non-locals. What this research seeks to understand is how this pattern changes across time, space and social groups, and how it articulates with the radical socio-cultural transformations that arose during the second half of the 3rd millennium BC up to the late 2nd millennium BC. Italy represents one of the archaeologically richest regions of Europe, in terms of number of sites, their visibility across the landscape and the quantity of materials preserved in museums. In addition, as repeatedly highlighted in the archaeological literature, northern Italy was a cultural crossroads between Central Europe and the Mediterranean world, if not also a target of invasions. The scientific challenge of this research is to identify non-local individuals among mortuary contexts and to understand the impact that these allogeneic components had on the socio-economic development of communities, in the wider context of demographic change from Late Copper Age unstable village communities to Late Bronze Age proto-urban centres.