Perforated plates of fired clay have long been recognised as a component of Late Bronze Age material culture in south-eastern England, but recent developer-funded excavations have produced a wealth of new evidence. These artefacts, showing a considerable degree of standardisation, are now known from more than 70 sites, which show a markedly riverine and estuarine distribution along the lower Thames. Their function is still uncertain, but it is suggested that they were parts of ovens for baking bread, a new technology for food preparation in the later Bronze Age. Some of the largest assemblages of such plates are found at strongly defended sites, and it is further suggested that the baking and consumption of bread was particularly associated with such sites of social authority. The estuarine distribution is discussed in this paper, and it presents further evidence for the regionally distinctive nature of food consumption in later prehistory.