Prior to the spinning of wool to make yarn or thread, it's believed felting was the main method of wool production for fabric creation. Many cultures have myths surrounding the origins of feltmaking. Among the ancient Sumerians the discovery of felting was attributed to Urnamman, a famous Sumerian war hero. In the story of Saint Clement and Saint Christopher we are told that men fleeing persecution stuffed wool into their sandals to protect their feet. At the end of their journey, all the movement, sweat and heat created felt.
The oldest archeological evidence for felting hails from Turkey. Wall paintings dating from 8,500 to 5,000 years ago show evidence of felt applique. A tomb in Southern Siberia containing felted fiber was found with a nomadic tribal elder dating from 7,000 years ago.
This is the Pasyryk Horseman, part of a larger felt carpet which covered a chieftan's mummy. The Pasyryk culture dates from 600 to 300 BC in the Altay Mountains of Siberia. There are many surviving felted artifacts as well as woven rugs and saddle blankets from this culture.