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An approach for the detection of decorative elements - such as initials and headlines - and text regions, focused on ancient manuscripts, is presented. Due to their age, ancient manuscripts suffer from degradation and staining as well as ink is faded-out over the time. Identifying decorative elements and text regions allows indexing a manuscript and serves as input for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) as it localizes regions of interest within document pages. We propose a robust method inspired by state-of-the-art object recognition methodologies. Scale Invariant Feature Transform (SIFT) descriptors are chosen to detect the regions of interest, and the scale of the interest points is used for localization. The classification is based on the fact that local properties of the decorative elements are different to those of regular text. The results show that the method is able to locate regular text in ancient manuscripts. The detection rate of decorative elements is not as high as for regular text but already yields to promising results.