Specifically, I find Yerevan very interesting. If someone from 2,000 years ago stood there today, they'd certainly realize it was the same city: the same Mount Ararat towering over the city, the same river Hrazdan running by the city, the name is pronounced very similar (pronounced Erebuni vs. now pronounced Erevan.) If you traveled a bit forward in time, to 400-something CE, then a modern inhabitant of Yerevan could even read the ancient writing in the city!
Compare that with cities like Puning, China (to quote Wikipedia: "The history of human settlement in Puning can be traced back to the Neolithic Age".) Rich history, but I guarantee that someone from 2,000 years ago would have no idea where they are. (That's certainly not all of China, though, many places haven't experienced that much change.)
Anyone know more of these cities, where it'd be obvious to the ancient inhabitants that it was the same city?
Downtown Athens and most of the suburbs are filled with ancient and byzantine ruins, despite the damage that wars, christians and muslims did.
I've watched plays in millennia old theaters. This is damn powerful.
London, sort of continuously inhabited since Roman times, wouldn't pass the test even if an ancient Roman inhabitant was standing on a street following the line of a Roman road and looking direct at the foundations of the London wall. Even the river course would be unfamiliar.
EDIT: a word
I'm from Italy and here we are taught a linear history shooting like a bullet from the Romans to Renaissance (mostly glossing over the Middle Ages), and that has important political consequences in what it means to identify as an Italian.
In other words one can say that history, as it is taught in school, is instrumental in constructing a national identity and as such it is wielded as a tool by the political and cultural élites.
As a Frenchman I have always found Italians identifying so strongly to Romans a bit creepy. I've had very heated conversations with people who wouldn't balk from the notion that « they » had conquered Europe at a time « we » lived in trees (notwithstanding Gaul having cities upwards of 40k inhabitants). Italy hasn't been Roman for much longer than Spain or Gaul and the entire peninsula nearly had a civilization « hard reset » with the utter ravage of the Gothic wars and Justinian's plague.
Things might have been simpler if we had kept the medieval demonym and referred to Italians as « Lombards ».
In all seriousness though, the 8th of May is still celebrated with victory parades throughout the country.
You can't just deny France also has some trouble remembering their history. Think of how long Kubrick's Paths of Glory was banned...
About France remembering its history, it's true that for a long time some things were hidden, but in 1995 (I think) the then President Jacques Chirac said that France should own the crimes commited by the Vichy government.
I am not saying that every bad deed done by France is not hidden somewhere, but some efforts were made by the French to reconcile with their history.
Thus said I'm not denying that in most places a decently educated person knows about the darker side of history of their country. My point is just that history as it is taught in high schools is a narrative that is (also) used to justify a sentiment of national pride.
Italy has ancient Rome and the Renaissance, Greece has ancient Greece, Ukraine has Kievan Rus', and just like those France has its own founding myths, be it Charlemagne, Napoleon, De Gaulle, or the Republican ideals...
Lots of nuance.
DNA doesn't matter. How you choose to live your life does.
By the way, in settlements were people are living for thousands of years, they usually build on top of what there was already there.
 - https://cdn.theculturetrip.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/10...
There is a museum near the Acropolis where they put a glass floor in and you can look down and see the ruins they've uncovered.
It's really remarkable. Buildings from the past were demolished and new buildings were built on top. It's interesting to look around and realize that you're walking over 30 ft worth of ruins everywhere.
The most ancient structures are from 9kya, and the city existed in a lot of forms since that point. I believe the current city streets are from the Roman period, and probably date to the iron age or older.
What fascinates me about the site is the architectural similarity between the oldest city (the 9kya, neolithic city) and Çatalhöyük of the same period. These are the oldest known cities, and predate the oldest known "empires" by a lot.
This hints at a neolithic (and perhaps even ice age) cultural exchange over very large distances.
It's complete so you can still walk the entire 4 sides of the wall in one hike, or rent a bike and circle the entire city in ~1 hour or so.
When you're atop the city wall, there's definitely a sense of being in two different times, both ancient and modern, at the same time as the modern Xi'an skyline makes up the background while you trek on stones that are hundreds (thousands?) of years old.
For example in France, Marseille and Nice (both Greek colonies) are 2,600 and 2,300 years old, respectively. The first inhabitants would definitely recognise them immediately today from the unique landscape (like Yerevan).
As for Puning, it's not so much related to China's recent changes but to the landscape. Mountains are unique and don't change much or at all in 2,000 years. But in a plain there is nothing to distinguish the landscape apart from buildings.
I doubt someone would recognize Marseille at first sight. If they looked hard enough they might recognize the harbour having vaguely the same shape and some mountains outside the city being the same.
I actually annotated a drawing of Roman-era Marseille with the names of modern features a few years back .
The natural features were massively overbuilt or even erased (like during the 19th c. to make way for avenues), which made things level off somewhat. The same goes for every city. Go to Rome someday. The famed hills are now invisible, expect for the Capitol (although it would look far less remarkable if the Forum hadn't been excavated).
I'm thinking that the view looking to the south end of the city, with its striking hills, would be instantly recognised by any local from the Greek period.
I agree, though, that the harbour itself would most likely be unrecognisable, not only because of the extensive urbanisation but because the shape has been seriously remodelled.
Nice, in my opinion (I've only been there twice) has very little connection to the Nice of old. The geography is not very unique (travel the Mediterranean coast and I promise you you'll find plenty of places that look nearly identical.) It's cycled through plenty of languages and was even originally 2 different cities (Cemenelum and Nikaia.) Put an occupant of Cemenelum in modern day Nice and I doubt they would know it was the same place. The once large river Paillon is dried to a part of what it once was and covered up by concrete; the language is completely different (and has changed many times) - hell, Nice wasn't even part of France until the late 1800s!
In Marseille, sure, an ancient inhabitant would recognize it due to the islands if nothing else. But as much as I love Marseille (one of my favorite places in the world, actually) - I get much less of an "ancient" feeling there than anywhere in Armenia or Iran, for example.
Fascinating language (and alphabet) by the way.
(Again, similar things are true of English to a less extreme degree: The Canterbury Tales are a struggle to understand, but I can plod my way through them with the aid of heavy glossing. But I doubt if I could have a conversation with a time-traveling Geoffrey Chaucer.)
All the old town was blown up with dynamite within a few days during the 1940's...
Yerevan feels like 70% 1970s Soviet life, 20% ancient civilization, and 10% 2050 futurism. I'd love to find more places like it.
No shit?! I had no idea the greek empire(s) stretched up this far. Was it a peaceful colonisation?
Athens founded Phocacea (in modern day Turkey), which founded Marseille, which founded Nice. All were independent Republics.
My understanding is that it was peaceful, or mostly peaceful. The aim was settling a city to further trade, not military conquests. That came later with the Romans.
Another Armenian city https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van,_Turkey, which is older than Yerevan, would match it too, but it's not included in the list on wikipedia. (Maybe because a large part of Van have been ruined and left uninhabited in ~1920s).
On a tangent: I love it when an article shows up on HN that is already greyed out, meaning I've seen it before.
One of the city gates still stands, the throne hall of Roman Emperor Constantine (Basilica), the Amphitheater ruins, the large Roman baths (ruins), even the large Dome is built on top a structure Emperor Constantine built.
According to your definition if there are recognizable major natural landmarks ( "Mount Ararat", "river Hrazdan" ), then it means nothing has changed since people in the past would recognize it and be able to place themselves. So using your logic, any city near a major mountain, river, etc would be recognizable. So tokyo ( visible from Mt Fuji ) hasn't changed, manhattan hasn't changed ( hudson/east rivers ), seattle hasn't changed ( Mt Rainier ), etc.
It's out most of the summer.
Santa Fe also nearby and on the list but it's quite a bit more modern. Still it's the oldest capital city in the continental US.
In particular, I spent a day in Kutaisi and although it was a lovely little place I didn't find it super interesting.
I'll definitely be back though, I hadn't heard of Mtskheta and it seems really interesting, I'd like to check it out.
I assume you're Georgian, from the name :) Any other places you'd suggest to visit in Georgia? I personally prefer the really unusual/out of the way stuff myself.
>>> The results that have come from a detailed geo-exploration (exploration conducted through GPS technology) conducted by seven IIT-Kgp departments, tracing the different stages through which civilization progressed, and how Varanasi has been able to maintain continuity as a living civilization, unlike comparable seats of human settlement in the world. The researchers have dug 100-metre-deep boring holes all over Varanasi to conclude that there is evidence of continuous settlement at least till 2000BC. There are enough indications that by the time the data collection is over, there would be enough to prove that this date can be pushed back to about 4500BC.The oldest part of this civilisation has been traced to the Gomati Sangam area of Varanasi, as indicated by the underground layers that have already been tested.
Edit: This article is speculating what might be discovered even before the people doing the research have found something:
>... by the time the data collection is over, there would be enough to prove that this date can be pushed back to about 4500BC.
For context: The era of the proto-indo-european language family is dated to start around 4500 BC somewhere near the Pontic-Caspian Steppe.
4500 BC would imply a culture that co-existed with the Harappa civilization. Such a discovery would have made news all around the world. This newspaper article would not be the first place to mention it.
I'm not convinced by any claim made by this article.
Afaik, it’s still very possible that entire language families that were even older have now gone extinct.
My point was to show how old 4,500BCE was. As you point out, that alone doesn’t rule out a city at Varanasi around 4500BCE.
This type of thing is widespread throughout the world  so there’s no reason to doubt it has a much longer history than records can follow.
The first one is language - in the region I am interested in (the southern parts of India) - primary sources appear in several different languages. It's not sufficient to have passing familiarity with a language - a ton of these ancient writers were poets trying to out-do each other with their skills at crafting verses. To research Indian history, one must learn several languages.
As someone who isn't trying to actively research history, secondary sources suffice for me. But then, one runs into the next big hurdle there. There have been very few authors writing about south Indian history post Independence. In 1928 (if I recall correctly), someone at the University of Madras wrote a PhD thesis on the Pallavas. I haven't been able to find any other material focused on the Pallavas published since then. Oh, and the 1928 PhD thesis - there's only a handful of those copies in the really large libraries around the world. A low quality scan of one of these copies has made it to the internet - and that remains my best source of information on the Pallava dynasty.
Then there are people like the Khalbaras - a bunch of rulers who came out of nowhere and ended up dominating 3 superpowers in that region. Yet, these guys didn't leave behind any historical record and only passing references to them as "the imprisoners of 3 crown princes" remain as tombstones and signposts for a group of rulers who would have to take down armies of war elephants multiple times to get to that point.
There are also open problems of Chronology in several important periods (for example, the era covered by the Sangam literature - Karikala and all those guys). This is basically a group of poems that record history in disconnected joints. (It's not known how much of this is real history and how much is invented by poets). We have the pieces of a puzzle, with possibly some fake pieces, but we don't know how you'd arrange them in a timeline.
And then, there's the wars. Anyone who studies Indian history will quickly realize that Gandhi is an extreme anomaly. In southern India, it was a matter of pride for a king to die in battle. Imagine a culture where the rulers have cultural incentives to be suicidally belligerent (with War Elephants!!!). Now imagine a world where that is the cultural norm for over a thousand years. These rulers were warriors and the literature that they encouraged were mostly poets who wrote verses praising various military exploits. Several of these kingdoms emerge and disappear all the time - and they all chose different languages as the court language, several of them invented their own alphabets (looking at you Pallavas), they all straight up lied in several records. It's a lifetime's task to sort out 300 years of history for an area half the size of Germany.
Then, to make matters worse, almost all historical artifacts from south India were removed from the temples and forts that they have been found and made their way to various collectors and museums in Britan during the Britsh Raj. If you want to study south Indian history, a trip to a museum in London will give you a lot more than walking around endlessly in South India.
Then there's the lack of funding. It's absolutely embarrassing how little the various historians in India earn. Lately, I've been finding more books by historians in America (and even Japan) than those written by people in India.
Then you have the frauds like Sanjeev Sanyal who destroy history by mixing up well established history and his own opinions on history and using the authenticity of the accepted history to add credibility to his baseless opinions.
Studying Indian history is hard.
But the way you write about it makes it sound fascinating, too! Could you recommend a couple good books in English?
Unfortunately, I don't know any that I can recommend as being a "good" book (which is again part of the problem).
There are a couple of really dry academic books that you can read if you're sufficiently motivated -
1. The Cholas by K. A. Nilakanta Sastri
2. Politics, Kingship and Poetry in Medieval South India by Whitney Cox
3. South India under The Cholas by Y. Subbarayalu
4. A History of South India: From Prehistoric Times to the Fall of Vijayanagar by K. A Nilakanta Sastri
> Professor Jack Goody builds on his own previous work to extend further his highly influential critique of what he sees as the pervasive eurocentric or occidentalist biases of so much western historical writing. Goody also examines the consequent 'theft' by the West of the achievements of other cultures in the invention of (notably) democracy, capitalism, individualism, and love.
All other reasons people give here are mere technicalities.
Actually, a few other Tunisian cities are missing that trace their origins back to late B.C./early A.D., such as Monastir, Mahdia, and El Jem.
Any thoughts on this?
Carthage does make this list. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_cities_through...
It was the world's biggest city circa 300BC.
Yeah, it's either that, or the fact that Tunis (the new capital) was founded 10 miles away after the Umayyads took Carthage from the Byzantines (mentioned by u/scythe).
I've often wonder about the salt. The salt ritual (or figure of speech) originates in the eastern Mediterranean, which is why it features in the bible. Being Israeli, I always figured the dead sea inspired the idea. I think you'd need a lot of salt to do it literally though.
I wonder how the expression got to Rome? Punic culture & language came from Lebanon, and was similar to biblical Hebrew. It makes sense they used the same metaphors & rituals. Rome though? Was Scipio using a Carthaginian expression? Did he do their own ancient victory ritual to them?
Tunis was founded across the lake as a replacement shortly thereafter, and development shifted there probably for land availability and protection from naval attacks.
But I'd certainly expect Carthage to be listed with notes about it's destruction and reconstruction - although I'd note there must be lots of cities founded ~500BCE+ that have been continuously inhabited.
I guess whoever creates the list can argue that each individual item is sourced, even though the selection of items and their organisation is original research , and thus should not be allowed.
I personally think that this list is really interesting and does in fact advance the state of human knowledge. The fact that it's currently at the top of HN and has garnered comment interest shows that you're probably in the minority in your disagreement.
If you feel strongly that this list is trivial, poorly organized, or simply "awful" you're absolutely free to join the discussion and contribute edits at Wikipedia.
I highly recommend a visit to any city on this list.
When I brought friends from Europe to see Lebanon, we saw, I kid you not, the tour guide throwing an empty plastic water bottle down the crater that held sarcophagi.
The inhabitants of these communities were the same Neolithic farmers who crossed from the Near East, over Anatolia into Greece and then up into the rest of Europe around 8000 years ago.
They not only introduced farming to Europe, but also herding and domesticated cows and sheep. There is some linguistic evidence that the word Taurus (representing the bull in the Zodiac) is a remnant of the language these people spoke, which would make sense as they were the ones to introduce the bull to the ancestors of the Proto-Indo-European speakers.
E.g., Seoul shouldn't be there. The ancient capital of Wiryeseong was a separate city that was abandoned in the middle ages (in fact we aren't even sure exactly where it was), and the most likely location is on the other side of the river from Seoul's old city area: the (suspected) Wiryeseong area wasn't part of Seoul until 1963.
People were all over the world at this time leaving in various states of habitation. The earliest surviving civilization was Mesopotamia at around 7000 BCE but the earliest known neolithic settlements were in the area of modern Czech Republic circa 45000 BCE. By the time civilian began to flourish there were neolithic settlements in many unrelated places of the world. People have been living in the northern polar region since well before the earliest neolithic settlements and did not civilize until recently and some remain uncivilized.
It's interesting that the biggest cities plateaued at about 1 million from about 100 BCE to 1800 CE, until the industrial revolution kicked in.
It doesn't qualify as continuously inhabited, but that doesn't make it unexplored. In many cases I'm sure one can consider it more or less a coincidence that one town happened to be conquered while inhabited and another might've had the whole town die of smallpox or whatever.
I do think the concept of "continuously inhabited city" is interesting, but ultimately distorting in several ways, especially in the Americas. Adding the loaded word "civilization" just further muddies the waters.
However, if you consider that Antarctica was finally sighted in 1820, your figure of 200 years is very accurate.
That said, I think it is interesting that there are probably islands on which no human has ever set foot. At least I think that's the case, I don't have proof. Large swaths of ice as well, but islands are easier to think about.
Eh, not precisely. Most of the earth is still empty of human life or very sparsely populated.
I mean, isn’t that true for most of Canada, Russia, Antarctica, central Australia, Mongolia, and even large parts of the American West?
In Stranger in a Strange Land, Michael Valentine Smith talks about the Martian habit of abandoning places when the memories became too intense to tolerate.
If we earthlings were repulsed by places with too much history such old places would have a limited lifespan. While we'd lose out on the context of history, we'd escape some of the deep ruts of blind tradition and be less buried by sedimentary layers of "that's how we've always done it."
War is a terrible evil, but at least it tends to breaks up such ossified remains. If we defeat war, we should look for other mechanisms to till the soil to promote new growth.
I did a search but couldn't find it, what I did find is quite interesting. Take a look at the top picture here https://symbolsandsecrets.london/page/21/
Scroll down for some more of londinium and assorted london relics.
28,000 years of teaching the next generation agriculture and animal husbandry.
Its predecessor: Anglo Saxon is even more distant from it. Try to read the passages here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_English#Beowulf
Latin (as an artificially conserved language) has not changed that much since Roman times, but it isn't a language that is actively used in everyday life -- so you cannot claim it is: "continuously spoken over time".
Hebrew and Arabic could be interesting cases -- maybe someone more knowledgeable than me can chime in on these... But I assume ancient Hebrew and Arabic are also not mutually intelligible with the corresponding languages today.
Hebrew is an unusual case because, like Latin, it was mostly a dead language that for centuries only continued to be used in religious and a few other contexts. It was revived in the 19th century. Because of its long period of cryostasis the parts that were preserved probably haven't changed that much, although necessarily it's expanded greatly into a living language.
Arabic is divided into "proper, classical" Arabic which is used for religious purpose (and maybe some other "official" things), a bit like Latin in the middle ages; and various mostly unintelligible dialects used day to day.
If I remember correctly, modern Hebrew is pretty much the same as old Hebrew, with various additions to fit the current world. It's somewhat artificial in that it wasn't really spoken before, and was the chosen as the official language in the early 20th century.
It's like if someone decided nowadays to use Latin as the official language.
A lot of guess work on these dates
Literally the introduction.
As long as we don't equate estimates with facts, we're good.
It's hard to put a date on it, because Rome likely developed out of several villages in the region. The oldest arcaheological evidence from the area is way older than the 8th century BC. The Romans themselves didn't have anything other than a best guess about it, either (and several were put forth, not just this one).
Edit: yep, I'm really fun at parties!
i loved reading the rise of rome, by anthony everitt.
Sure, there's some ambiguity, and of course there's not a hard number on it. But that doesn't mean you can't tell if something is a city. Nobody would argue that, for example, NYC isn't a city, or London or Amsterdam or whatnot.
As the world population grew, so did the definition of "city". 12,000 years ago, there were somewhere around ten million people in the entire world, so a definition of somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.1% of the world population (10,000 people) for a city seems reasonable, plus or minus one order of magnitude. I'll call it Owen's Law :) That holds for today: 0.1% of the world population is 7.8 million, plus or minus 1 order of magnitude - I'd say that's a fine definition for a city. In any case, it works very well today: at the large end you have cities like Chongqing with 30+ million in the municipality, and at the small end you have cities like Rotterdam with around 700k people in the city proper.
To check if my rule of thumb worked: At the year 1, assuming 200 million people in the world, that's setting a city around 200,000 people, plus or minus 1 order of magnitude. The largest city in the world was Rome, between 1MM-400k people; all the top 10 largest cities fell within the rule.
- It holds at the year 1000 (world pop. ~300MM, largest city Córdoba with 400k, smaller cities like Nimes with 56k.)
- It holds at the year 1500 (world pop. 500MM, largest city Constantinople 250k, smaller cities like Palermo, Florence, Madrid, Moscow with ~70k.)
- It holds at 1800 (world pop. ~1 billion, largest cities Vienna and London ~1MM, smaller cities like Berlin, Lyon, Venice 150k.)
- It holds at 1900 (world pop. 1.6 billion, largest city London 5.5MM, smaller cities Naples, Madrid, Amsterdam ~500k.)
The fallacy lies in the question, that a collection of sand is either individual grains aggregated, or a heap. One response is that "heap" describes not quantity but behaviour, or even more crucially, useful mental models.
The old parable of grains of rice doubled on successive squares of a chessboard gives a useful visual image, here: http://all-funny.info/rice-chessboard-story
I'd argue that the transition between "grains" and "heap" occurs somewhere between 16 and 128 grains, the 6th to 8th squares (2^5 to 2^7). Sixteen grains is still, mostly, individual grains. 128 grains is almost certainly a heap.
In urban geography, urbanisations are virtually always classed by the log, usually base ten, of their population. This gives settlements of class 0 (one inhabitant) to about class 7.6 (roughly 40 millions of souls, greater Tokyo). Distribution nearly perfectly follows a power distribution -- frequency distribution is linear with the log size.
Going back through human history, the first settlements we might have termed "cities" may well have been only a few hundreds of inhabitants, but they would have dominated their regions. Anthropologists typically identify Uruk as the first settlement recognised as a city. "Many ancient cities had only modest populations, often under 5,000 persons."
A city is a permanent settlement of size and complexity which acts as a city.
Until that knowledge is over-written.
What will the catalyst be? Will it be nuclear war, which devastates and contaminates an area for decades? Will it be disease that makes existing urban areas less desirable to live in? Will it be economic opportunity, as we discover new uses for land or a new way to use land? Space Travel?
I see a small parallel to startups: it is easy but dangerous to say "there are no new ideas in that industry". Yet often some of the primary companies are those that survived the early "land grab" of customers.
Not trying to diminish the work that went into it so far, but it is a great example to always keep in mind how wikipedia works, how its content is built and to never trust it as a source in itself.
Apart from Australasia.
Though seriously, I appreciate that Oceana's indigenous peoples are highly nomadic, but is it really the case that there's no continuous settlement there until European colonisation?
Settlement yes, city no.
1789 is more like their colonization year, not their settlement year.
There are probably more cities like this.
And got totally smashed by bad feedback, and eventually flagged (?!) for saying this.
What gives? HN is normally such a tolerant place, full of curious people. Is this topic so emotionally toxic that no alternate dialog is tolerated? I'm honestly confused.
Puts some perspective into "for an american, 200 years is a long time", doesn't it?
I was surprised though at the limited number of sites inhabited continuously since earlier than 2000BCE. I would believe that good natural sites (natural harbors with a river) would have been continuously inhabited since neolithic.
"By the 5th century, the Roman Empire was in rapid decline and in AD 410, the Roman occupation of Britannia came to an end. Following this, the Roman city also went into rapid decline and by the end of the 5th century was practically abandoned."
A list of "oldest cities" which contains places like Canbera and Detroit, but not places like London and Venice, seems very odd
There was a story a couple of weeks ago about pottery dating from around 3600BCE being found at a site in Shoreditch (which was being excavated for the new Amazon HQ), suggesting London may have been inhabited considerably longer than previously thought.
 https://www.mola.org.uk/blog/largest-group-early-neolithic-p... & https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2178-z
I grew up in New Orleans and every other US city I’ve lived in has felt kind of... unmoored... in a certain way, what history there is in much of the rest of the country has been thoroughly torn down, and it’s not like there’s much history in a 1940s building yet anyway.
The local cafe I (used to) go to for lunch at weekends was built in 1583 (the building on that site had burnt down in a fire). There's some history at the start of the menu, and sure it's older than most of the houses in town, but it's no means unique and there are older buildings in town (not many as most burnt down in the 1583 fire)
But quality of life matters more. This is the defining charasteristic of the city for me to live in.
I don't think that accurately describes anyone else's comments in this subthread.
People are just pointing out that the article is clearly about cities, not nomadic tribes, but that doesn't at all mean anyone (the article writer or any commenter) is suggesting nomadic tribes don't matter.
They're just different topics is all.
This misses the point because this isn't about continuity of population in terms of lineage, just perpetual inhabitation. A city such as Sicily over time has exchanged hands and transformed culture many, many times. Cities are cosmopolitan. Demographics change, and culture is not static. It was not for nomadic tribes either. What we can find for them, however, are relics tied to a certain point in time, to a certain place, describing a certain nomadic culture. They are certainly not the same as those persisting today, whether there is some lineage or otherwise.
It also reads funny; what makes them continuous, you mean they did not partake in interracial mingling? We don't know how continuous they really were. We only know that nomadic lifestyle existed a long time, and ultimately is the precursor of settlements; humanity was of course once entirely nomadic, therefore we all have nomadic ancestors. Fukuyama would suggest that centralized agriculture was developed to increase population in order to wage war, which eventually grew enough to necessitate bureaucracy.
> mere mention of nomads would create such a passionate backlash!
I don't see any. Maybe it's something you're feeling?
No worries; being ignored and marginalized is among the least troubles they have.
This is a list about cities, not civilizations. Nomadic populations can be included in lists that talk about those topics. There can also be a list of "oldest nomadic populations" from which cities are excluded.
I'm also confused at your 14,000 years comment... this isn't the age of any particular polity or ethnic group; just the amount of time since people settled North America. Across the old world, comparable tribes lived for much, much longer. And in Africa you can go back even further.
What exactly do you think should have happened here? Simply not allow lists of old cities? Or perhaps put in special entries for nomad tribes even though they're not, you know, cities? What's the goal that would have made sense but also made you happy?