The Odessa Museum of Archaeology was founded in 1825 by local antiquarians. The museum's collection grew in part due to excavations of classical sites in the region, in part due to gifts and purchases from dealers in classical antiquities. Up to the Second World War the focus of the Museum's activities was classical archaeology. In the post-war period this expanded to include the whole of the ancient history of the region from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages. The museum now houses one of the best collections of Classical Antiquities in the former Soviet Union and the third-ranking Egyptological collection. The museum formed from 1972 part of the Soviet Academy system and undertook fieldwork on the Lower Dniester at Bronze Age sites, as well as at classical sites such as Tyras, Nikonion, the site of the ancient Odessos, and Leuke and medieval sites such as Belgorod.