The River Thames has been an important communications route since the end of the last Ice Age. It attracted settlements of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and early farmers who during the Bronze Age constructed some of the first field systems in Britain. The river also became a focus for religious ceremony involving the deposition of offerings; many metal tools and weapons have been dredged from the river near Maidenhead Bridge and a human skull and deer bones have been found buried deep in the river bank. These discoveries may be linked to the hillfort at Taplow Court and to similar finds from the nearby Dorney Rowing Lake where they were associated with preserved Bronze Age and Iron Age bridges, some of the earliest such structures in north western Europe. Old infilled river channels running through the conservation area could contain similar deposits of regional or national importance preserved in waterlogged conditions.