Oinoanda name was first seen in the Hittite cuneiform inscriptions as Wiyanawanda/Winuwanda (Hittite; wiyana = wine). In these cuneiform inscriptions, this area was described as a Lukka land during a Hittite campaign to Xanthus. Considering that the Hittites to be an effective force between 1700 - 1200 BC, the earliest remains observed in the metioned city are city walls and masonry techniques pointing to settlements of 3rd century.
The city made a quadruple alliance (tetra polis) with the cities of Kibyra, Balbura, and Bubon in 2nd century BC and this alliance lasted until BC 84. In BC 84, the Roman general Lucius Licinus Murena put an end to this alliance. After this date, the city continued its existence as a city in Lycian state of the Roman Empire.
In 4th century AC, the Got invasion which creates an atmosphere of chaos, dominated all over Europe. In 7th century AC, a great wall was built in east of the city facing the Hellenistic stoa against Arab raids that might come from south. While building this wall, they dismantle and use the stones of old colossal structures. The stones once belonged to many different structures of the city can be seen on this wall.
The hill that rises to the north of the settlement, Eren Tepe (1532m), is sometimes referred to as the acropolis of Oinoanda, although it is not integrated into the urban structure. Because of the sharply undulating terrain, public spaces - the paved agora and the so-called Esplanade - could be accommodated only in the northern part of the city, while most of the other structural remains occupy sloping sites. At the southwestern extremity of the city is a well preserved section of wall fortified with two towers. The wall is intersected at a tangent by an aqueduct, which is equally well preserved and spans the dip between the wall and the neighbouring hill to the south. On the plain to the east of the urban area lies the present-day village of Incealiler, from which a footpath now leads up to the site.
The city is surrounded by tombs built in the slopes of the hill. Almost all of the tombs belong to the Roman period. The largest of all is a heroon which had been built by Licinnia Flavilla and dates back to second half of the 2nd AC. On the mausoleum there is a genealogical inscription comprising twelve generations of the ancestors and connections of Licinnia Flavilla and her younger kinsman Flavianus Diogenes, which once covered its eastern façade.
In northern part of the modern town of Seki which is the east of Oinoanda, there is a mound on the edge of the Seki stream. It is called Eceler mound. According to the surface finds, this mound has been inhabited within a wide range of time period from the Chalcolithic Period to the Roman period. Probably the earliest settlement of Oinoanda was here.
The site of the city of Oinoanda was discovered and identified by British explorers in the 1840s, and the first plan of the site was published as early as 1847. But subsequently there was no thorough exploration of the site or indeed of any individual structures, some of which are in a good state of preservation. Instead, scholarly interest was focused entirely on the inscriptions, especially on the fragments of a philosophical inscription, which first came to light in 1884 and, with the discovery of 88 fragments by 1895, was revealed as a monumental enshrinement of the Epicurean teachings of the philosopher Diogenes of Oinoanda. In the process of further study and research, it became clear that the inscription was the largest known from the ancient world. A new chapter in the history of research at Oinoanda opened in 1968 when Martin Ferguson Smith began investigations on the site, focusing on Diogenes' inscription, of which he was able to recover a further 38 new fragments. Smith was furthermore able to relocate most of the fragments found in the 19th century and to submit them to fresh analysis. From 1974 his project was accompanied by a survey undertaken over many years by the BIAA (British Institute at Ankara), initially directed by Alan Hall. This survey represented the first thoroughgoing exploration of the topography and structures of Oinoanda, and also led to the discovery of a further 86 fragments of Diogenes' inscription, which were published successively by M. F. Smith. The greatest number of inscription fragments was found in the area of the so-called Esplanade, identified as the older, Hellenistic agora of the city. In 1997, a small excavation, conducted by BIAA in collaboration with Fethiye Museum, with M. F. Smith as scientific director, brought to light several more blocks of Diogenes' inscription on the Esplanade. This was the first and only archaeological excavation at Oinoanda in the 20th century. In the framework of the BIAA survey, explorations were undertaken that opened up the territory of the ancient city. In addition to the Epicurean inscription, numerous non-philosophical texts have been discovered at Oinoanda and published. Of particular note are the genealogical inscription from the mausoleum of Licinnia Flavilla and the so-called Demostheneia inscription. Along with Diogenes' inscription, these are among the most important inscriptions recovered from the ancient Greek world and underscore the exceptional significance of Oinoanda as an "epigraphic Eldorado". The Demostheneia inscription has been discussed in detail by M. Wörrle, former director of the Commission for Ancient History and Epigraphy at the DAI, who interpreted it as evidence of the festival culture and general mentality of imperial-era élites in the cities of Asia Minor. Research activities at Oinoanda were suspended a few years ago in spite of notable results, leaving many questions unanswered. In particular, there is uncertainty about the architectural conception of Diogenes' inscription and its relationship to its urban surroundings. Little is known too about the successive phases of the development of the city and the diachronic change that took place in public spaces. The resumption of archaeological investigations at Oinoanda can moreover be expected to yield further finds of inscriptions.