The excavations at Takshasila or Taxila conducted by Sir John Marshall between the years 1913-34 have unearthed the remains of three cities and over two dozens of Stupas and Monasteries. The most ancient city stands on a small Plateau called Bhir Mound. It flourished from the 7th century B.C. to the beginning of the 2nd Century B.C, in its early days the city was conquered and ruled by the Achaemenians and a Persian satrap resided here. It was also here that the Hindu King Ambhi played host to Alexander the Great in 326 B.C. Four years later, the Macedonian Garrisons were ousted by Chandra Gupta Maurya and the city passed under the dominion of the Mauryan Emperors. It remained an integral and important part of the Mauryan Empire till the death of Asoka the Great in 232 B.C. In about 190 B.C. Demetrios the Bactrian King, conquered the North-West of the Indo-Pakistan Sub-Continent and made Taxila his Capital. The Greeks however founded a new city on the opposite bank of the Tamra Nala about a mile to the North-East of Bhir Mound. This second city, now Called Sirkap, flourished till the 2nd Century A.C. and was ruled successively by the Greeks, the Scythians, the Parthians and the Kushans. The city was shifted once again by the Kushans under Vima Kadphises, this time further North-East on the northern side of the Lundi Nala about two miles from Sirkap. Third and the last city of Taxila, now known as Sirsukh flourished till the middle of the 5th century A.C. When it was destroyed by the White Huns, Taxila did not survive this disaster.
The Chinese pilgrim Hsuan Tsang visited the city in the 7th century A.C. only to find a dependency of Kashmir and most of its monuments in ruins.