The first archaeological excavation at Vadnagar was carried out by D. Subba Rao and R. N. Mehta of Baroda State Museum in 1953-54. At the time this writer, who was editor of the Navin Sarva Vidyalaya High School Journal, worked with D. Subba Rao as a volunteer for two months. Towards the end of the excavation D. Subba Rao contributed an article to the School journal as well as delivered a lecture at the School. At the time he said that the excavation had yielded enough archaeological evidence to prove that the city existed at the present site more than 2,500 years ago. Also, he propounded that the place had Harappan connection. 'It could have begun as one of the Harappan settlemets,' he wondered. However, there has been no conclusive proof to prove that hypothesis so far. But that kind of proof needs extensive search and that remains to happen as yet. The recent excavation on the fringe of the present township, done under the able leadership of the state chief archaeologist Y. S. Rawat, has provided ample proof of existence of a thriving centre of Buddhism at Vadnagar way back in the second century. That draws a dateline of 1,900 years in the past from today. More extensive diggings might push back that dateline further back and provide evidence to prove D. Subba Rao's hypothesis.

In 2007 Department of Archaeology, Gujarat State began excavating a site just outside the south wall of the old fort.

Though a small-scale excavation, it yielded enough evidence to support the view that Vadnagar indeed has been a very ancient settlement. A structure, measuring 55 by 55 feet with 12 residential cells for the monks, of a Buddhist vihara or monastery, being in use from the second to the fourth century, has been unearthed. Its identity as a Buddhist monastery has been authenticated by a team of Japanese archaeologists that visited the place and examined the evidences excavated by Y. S. Rawat's team. The unearthed monastery corroborates well with the account of the famous Chinese traveller Hsuan-Tsang, who visited Vadnagar (then known as Anandapur) in the seventh century, that the city had some ten sangharams with about a thousand Buddhist monks.

The present excavation site has yielded more than two thousand artifacts of various types. These include a Buddha idol, an amphora, figurines, a crucible, a grinding stone, seals, a terracotta head wearing a turban, shell bangles, necklace beads, copper and silver coins, and northern black polished ware with inscriptions.

Brick structures indicate construction activity going back from the Solanki period to the Roman times.

Presence of Buddhist monks is once again confirmed by the findings of a small statue of Buddha and Bhiksha Patra (Alms Bowl).

Did such Buddhist monasteries exist in Vadnagar at the time of Hsuang-Tsang’s visit?

Now, we have a definitive answer to the question: "Did the Buddhist monasteries that Hsuang-Tsang saw really exist at Vadnagar?" The recent excavations have produced concrete evidence in the forms of remains of a Buddhist Stupa as well as monks' quarters.