In 1999, archaeologists excavating the temple of Tlatelolco discovered the skeletical remains of a 20 year old sacifrical victim who was holding two clay skull figures. At the time of discovery, historians assumed that the figurines was nothing more than toys and placed them in a musuem warehouse.
It wasnt until years later when they took theses figurines back out from the warehouse that someone decided to blow into it and what it produced was a haunting and screaming sound which led us to understand pre Hispanic instruments and rituals a little bit more.
There is many theories on what exactly the Aztec death whistle was used for and I have my own thoughts on what I think it could be for.
One theory, is that it was used as a instrument to scare enemies during battle.
Another suggests, it was used to recreate the screech of the howling wind and this would help guide sacrificial victims with their journey into the afterlife.
My own theory is that it may be a instrument given to sacrificial victims so that there soul was ever needed on earth again, this could act as a calling back to them in the afterlife to come back to us here on earth- when you hear how it sounds you will know what I mean, to me it sounds like a screaming lady, one can only assume that when sacrificial victims took their own life – which normally consisted of jumping into a huge sacrificial pit, they probably would have screamed. This may have been given to the victim just in case if anyone ever needed them back here on earth, they simply could call out to them through their screams.
When the instruments are played together at the same time the sounds generate a sound that evokes a storm and the whistles generate a greater range and intensity of frequencies.
Some believe that some whistles found may have been used to treat illnesses because of the infrasonic sounds produced when using it. These sounds are too low for the human ear to recognize and such sounds can have huge impacts on a persons heart rate and consciousness. This may mean that such whistles could have been used to send people into a hypnotic state or to relief pain.
Can you buy one?
Yes you can, I purchased one on my visit to Mexico in 2012 but these are only simply replicas of what was found and are not the originals but still sound the same and make for a brillant and unique souvenir.
For more information and a listen to how it sounds, watch the video below