Professor Bratindra Nath Mukherjee, 79, renowned historian and an expert in epigraphy who deciphered several ancient scripts, died at his residence here on Thursday.

He is survived by wife and son.

A Padma Shri awardee, Professor Mukherjee was among the country’s rare scholars who knew central Asian languages, including Sogdian, and was the author of more than 50 books and 700 articles in national and international journals.

Sogdian is an Eastern-Iranian language of the area that is modern-day Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Among his well-known books are Greek and Aramaic Edicts of Ashoka, Rise of Kushan Empire and Indian Gold, a book on ancient coins of the country.

The historian was considered a reputed numismatist and had written two volumes: Numismatic Art of India and Coins of Bengal.

Many well-known historians, including Ranabir Chakrabarti and Suchandra Ghosh, are among Professor Mukherjee’s students.

He also served as a former Carmichael Professor in the Department of Ancient Indian History and Culture, University of Calcutta.

“Prof. Mukherjee’s area of expertise included Kushan and Mauryan studies. His knowledge of various languages helped him decipher many ancient scripts such as Shell and Kharoshti Brahmi, and thus he made significant contributions to ancient history,” said Suchandra Ghosh, former head of the Department of Ancient Indian History and Culture, University of Calcutta.