This afternoon the mailman delivered two old books I had ordered about rug hooking. Both were written by William Winthrop Kent. One is called The Hooked Rug. It was written in 1937 and reports to trace hooked rugs back to a 6th century Coptic mat!
Hey now I'm interested. An intersection has occurred between rugs and my academic profession (I'm a scholar of early Christianity, particular old Coptic texts!). The Coptic rug he has photographed (see below) is housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC (p. 6).
It appears that he found out about old Coptic hooked mats from Helen R. Albee and her booklet Abnakee Rugs (my next purchase!). The Copts appear to have been making rugs the same way we do. They pulled the material through a cloth foundation in even unclipped loops. This suggests that the art goes back to the ancient Egyptians. Wow.