The cities that developed at Merv span the last 2,500 years, and together they form one of the most complex and well-preserved urban centers on the Silk Route of Central Asia.
Well that's not enough to explain how "old" were populated the Merv Area.
Silki Route is "Young".....
The discoveries after more than 20 years of archaeological escavations, brought to the light the
Adji Kui reality, named as "Citadel of Oasis".
Datation of such "lost" civility dated back till, at least 4.000 years B.C. (Early bronse age).
The main trade passing through such "Citadel of Oasis" were Lapislazuli Route......
Discussion about can be read in these post here:
and in some other occasions when discussing about ancient civilities, DNA migration tracks etc.
And as I discussd few years ago with the "Archaeologist - Gabriele Rossi Osmida" who discovered that, there
are serious probabilities as per some clues) that escavating more deep, will be brought more evidence for
more ancient settlements.....
The permission to escavate more deeply, till last yesr was not given from Turkmenistane governement yet.
Central Asia and Turkmenistan in particular is, IMHO, the key to better understand what went on not only
there but in in many other Western, North Western and South Western countries...
You can not solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that you used to create it.