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Rubén G. Mendoza

Chair/Professor, Division of Social, Behavioral & Global Studies, California State University, Monterey Bay

Dr. Rubén G. Mendoza is an archaeologist, writer, and photographer who has explored the length and breadth of Mexico, Central America, Europe, and the US Southwest documenting both pre-Columbian and Colonial era sites and collections.

A founding faculty member of the California State University, Monterey Bay, and current Chair of the Division of Social, Behavioral & Global Studies, Professor Mendoza has directed major archaeological investigations and conservation projects at missions San Juan Bautista, San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, and Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, among others. Recent efforts at the Royal Presidio of Monterey resulted in the tandem discovery of the earliest Serra era Christian houses of worship in California dated to 1770 and 1771.

A charter member of the California Missions Foundation, his Mission Solstice Survey has resulted in the astronomically and liturgically significant discoveries of solstice, equinox, and feast day solar illuminations of mission church altars throughout California, the US Southwest, and Mesoamerica.

He has published some 135 manuscripts and scores of images spanning a range of topics, including pre-Columbian and Colonial era art and architecture, Mesoamerican archaeology, social complexity, California missions’ art and architecture, American Indian science, technology, and medicine, and modern material cultures. He is the co-Editor, with Richard Chacon, of several recent books, including the University of Arizona Press books "North American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence" (2007) and "Latin American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence" (2007), and the Springer International editions of "The Ethics of Anthropology and Amerindian Research" (2012), and "Feast, Famine, or Fighting? Multiple Pathways to Social Complexity" (2017). Other credits include Oxford University Press, Charles Scribner’s Sons, Blackwell Publishers, Cambridge University Press, Kluwer Academic, Springer, Arte Publico, Grolier, Indiana University Press, Salem, and the University Press of Florida.


  • –present
    Professor of Archaeology and Social and Behavioral Sciences, California State University, Monterey Bay


The Norman Neuerburg Award / California Missions Foundation