A quantitative trait locus analysis was carried out to unravel the genetic basis of dormancy in wild barley (Hordeum spontaneum) from Israel. Two accessions, Ashkelon and Mehola, from divergent environments were crossed to produce a mapping population. A linkage map was produced from the F2 population, and F4 seeds were used for germination experiments. Five quantitative trait loci (QTL) were detected for dormancy across the different germination experiments. These QTL were found on chromosomes 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7. The variation explained by each QTL varied between 8 and 25%. Ashkelon alleles increased the germination except for the QTL on chromosome 5. Three out of these five QTL co-locate with QTL found earlier in cultivated barley crosses, although this does not necessarily imply that they would be the same loci. The level of dormancy is much higher in wild barley than in cultivated barley and wild barley may have alleles that have not yet been utilised in breeding for optimally dormant barley.