You should be able to enable Versioning on the existing bucket. Here is a link to an article on how to do that: https://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonS3/latest/user-guide/enable-versioning.html
This will also prevent accidental deletion of objects in that bucket as deleting an object will add a deletion flag rather than actually deleting the object. Here's another great article on protecting a bucket against object deletion: https://d0.awsstatic.com/whitepapers/protecting-s3-against-object-deletion.pdf
As these are "archive files which will be accessed seldomly" you should consider use Intelligent Tiering or Lifecycles to move objects to other tiers to save money.
Apologies for not directly answering your questions but I hope this helps and saves time and effort.
Thanks for the reply Evan!
I actually got this solved by contacting AWS cust support. They walked me through changing the existing bucket to a Protected bucked by leveraging CLI and a tolken that cust service supplied to me.
Bucket is now protected and i don't need to mess with transferring everything to a different bucket!
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