Production of dairy products drove the expansion of the Yamnaya peoples of the Eurasian Steppes in the Early Bronze Age.
The nomadic peoples of the Eurasian Steppes have long been a source of fascination to both archaeologists and the general public, with, sometimes less than flattering, fictionalised versions appearing in popular fantasy novels such as JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and GRR Martin's Game of Thrones. The later phases of these groups, such as the Xiongnu and Mongol Empires are relatively familiar, but the origins of these groups in the Eneolithic (the Late Neolithic plus the Chalcolithic, or 'Copper Age' are rather more obscure. The archaeology of these groups has been studied for a long time, but new technologies have recently shed new light on the field. For example, it has been demonstrated that European populations had a significant influx of DNA from steppe-dwelling groups during the late Neolithic. The same Neolithic steppe populations (referred to as Yamnaya by archaeologists) also have also been shown to have genetic links to the Afanasievo people of the Altai Mountains and even the peoples of Mongolia. Both archaeological and genetic data suggest extensive population movements in this area during the Early Bronze Age (roughly 3300 to 2500 BC), with links being established between the Yamnaya peoples of the Pontic–Caspian steppe and the peoples of Siberia and Scandinavia.