The first written notice of the ancient ruins of the site now known as Edzna are from 1906, in the form of a report prepared by an official for the Governor of the State of Campeche.

Even though the site lies very close to the capital city of Campeche, between 1910 and 1920 no further explorations, much less archaeological work, was carried out in them, mostly because of the on-going Mexican Revolution.

In 1927, Nazario Quintana Bello, an inspector of archaeological monuments for the Ministry of Public Instruction put together a new report and description of the ruins. The following year, the noted Mexican architect Federico Mariscal published his Estudio Arquitectónico de las Ruinas Mayas (An Architectural Study of Maya Ruins), in which the main structure at Edzna (now known as the Building of Five Stories) was examined in some detail.

Almost ten more years would pass before the next substantial mention in writing of the ruins can be found in Sylvanus G. Morley's The Inscriptions of Petén, which appeared between the years 1937 and 1938. In it, both Morley and the Mexican researcher Enrique Palacios worked out the dates inscribed on the monuments of Edzna.

Starting in 1943, Alberto Ruz Lhuillier, of Palenque fame, and Raúl Pavón Abreu carried out investigations, mapping operations and published data regarding the old city's extent and its occupational sequence.

Partly because of World War II and partly because it would seem that the fate of this city was to go inexplicably unnoticed by the public at large, despite the fact that it is one of the major sites in all of the Maya area, the next mention of Edzna that has any consequence would have to wait until 1950, when the great Tatiana Proskouriakoff mentioned the site and particularly its monumental art in her masterpiece A Study of Classic Maya Sculpture.

In 1958, Ruz, Pavón and their team excavated and consolidated several buildings of the Great Acropolis, as well as the long structure that closes the Great Plaza on its western side and is popularly known as the Nohoch Na ("Big House").

George Andrews, in 1968, carried out the first ever topographical survey of the site, as well as the first systematic register of standing architecture in the old city.