"Novgorod" means "New city". Given such name, what were the old cities in the region at the time of its foundation?
Well, it seems before IXth century there was a city Gorodishche (literally: eclosure). In IXth century a new fort "Novgorod" was founded nearby the old fort. It seems the name is meant to contrast the new fort Novgorod to the old fort Gorodishche.
The city initially was subjected to Ladoga (Aldeigja, Aldeigborg). Ladoga was the ancient capital city of the area, established in VIII century by the Norse, then conquered by the Slavs, then again became subject of the Norse, the domain of Eiríkr Hákonarson (the conqueror of England, by the way).
It is conjectured that initially Rurik ruled from Ladoga rather than Novgorod (earliest versions of Primary Chronicle say so).
The Primary Chronicle of Kievan Rus' lists some of the early cities, fortresses or trading posts, including
- Beloozero (Belozersk)
- Izborsk (though it is unclear whether this was a city)
See for example pages 59 and 60 of http://www.mgh-bibliothek.de/dokumente/a/a011458.pdf
It is common for "New-" named places and things now to be seen as old. Examples include Newcastle and Newport, or New College Oxford, or the Pont Neuf in Paris. If this happens before written history starts, it may be difficult now to identify what came before without archaeology