AN archaeology group to investigate and research the history of Harwich is being formed.

The Harwich Society's board of trustees discussed a proposal to establish an archaeology group at a recent meeting which was given unanimous support.

The proposal was the idea of the society's chairman Colin Farnell.

Mr Farnell said: "The original purpose of the Harwich Society was to preserve and protect Harwich’s architectural heritage and it is something the society still devotes a lot of time and effort to.

"It makes sense to have a group within the Harwich Society investigating and researching the architectural archaeology of Historic Harwich to give us a more complete knowledge of the fascinating buildings that line its streets."

Nick May, Richard Oxborrow and Linda Morgan have stepped forward to become founding members of the Harwich Society’s new archaeology group.

Mr Oxborrow said: "There are 75 timber framed buildings still standing in historic Harwich and more than 30 of these are of an age which means they were standing at the time of Christopher Jones and the Mayflower.

"These are our initial targets as the locations and information about these buildings will add to the tourism offer surrounding Mayflower 2020 as well as add to the known history of our town."

So far the survey team has looked at 12 properties with a mix of scoping and detailed survey work.

Parallel archive research is taking place to augment the survey information with details of owners, occupants and events, which help bring the building histories alive and link them with the complete history of the town.

Mr May said: "We often hear Harwich is a hidden gem in historical terms so although we know a lot about its history there is definitely a lot more to learn and explain.

"With people more interested in genealogy and our shared cultural history there is a strong opportunity for heritage tourism in 2020 and beyond."